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RüF Dug meets Samrai – At The Dane Bank Observatory

by on at 09:12am

At the start of the year, we would probably have described RüF Dug as “fast-rising”. These days, though, he’s more of an established name – a maker of unusual, off-kilter electronic music that generally defies easy categorization. Since releasing the brilliant The Head Cleaner on Süd Electronic last autumn, he’s pushed on impressively, with the Lectric Sands-released Magnetic Atmosphere being complimented by a sprinkling of superb remixes, most notably for Tusk Wax, Rhythm Section International and ISM.

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Helena Hauff – Shatter Cone

by on at 11:33am

It’s easy to be cynical about Helena Hauff and her fast rise to prominence. She’s the resident at an in-vogue club, has released on many of the ‘right’ labels and is playing a fusion of sounds  – acid, EBM and minimal wave – that are very much back in. Viewed this way, her ascension could even have the whiff of a premeditated campaign to it. However, such suspicions quickly dissipate with the release of Shatter Cone. It’s easily the German DJ’s best record so far, because it doesn’t play to stereotypes.

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Joey Anderson – Head Down Arms Buddha Position

by on at 09:05am

There was a hushed, reverential quality to much of Joey Anderson’s After Forever album when it dropped on Dekmantel earlier in 2014, and it’s a spirit that has embodied much of the East coast producer’s output since he first emerged some years ago alongside the likes of DJ Qu and Jus Ed. Not that the dancer turned producer has ever been afraid of a bite in his productions, but he’s always erred towards a more ethereal feeling in his tunes rather than anything too abrasive. That’s why on this release for DJ October and John Osborn’s TANSTAAFL PLANETS imprint the opening hit of “Head Down Arms Buddha Position” shocks with its ferocity as a positively rowdy square wave arpeggio blasts its way out of the speakers with a sweeping filter barely managing to keep the leering notes in check.

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Bloom – Hydraulics

by on at 16:04pm

When Belfast producer Bloom first emerged with “Quartz” on Mr Mitch’s Gobstopper label back in 2012, the fragmented take on the grime template was still in its relative infancy. Since then we’ve had a genre-defining album from Logos in Cold Mission, a mix CD from Pinch and Mumdance weaving the sound into something of a mission statement and a host of new names inspired by the futuristic sound of Jam City’s Classical Curves. The sound has been so prevalent this year that the term “deconstructed grime” has even fallen into regular use, a suggestion that things are developing at such a rate instrumental grime has already started to splinter off into completely different sub-categories.

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Mehmet Aslan – Mechanical Turk

by on at 10:16am

It would be fair to say that Andrew Thompson’s Huntleys & Palmers label has come of age in 2014. While the pleasingly open-minded imprint was started in 2011 as a vehicle for dancefloor-focused global fusion – based, in part, on the success of the parties of the same name in Glasgow and London – their releases have previously been sporadic, at best. Given the generally high calibre of these releases – not just those by the ubiquitous Auntie Flo, but also the cumbia-bleep heaviness of Alejandro Paz’s “Callejero”, and the kuduro-influenced dancefloor madness of DJs Pareja’s “Steps” – it was a source of constant frustration for those attuned to their thrillingly hard-to-pigeonhole blends of bass, house, techno and intercontinental rhythms.

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Various Artists – Lunes De Fiel Vol. 1

by on at 15:59pm

Not content with providing a sprawling platform for Italo acts new and old with Bordello A Parigi, Otto Kraanen’s latest project is to launch a house music sub-label. Given his track record, it’s fair to assume that Bitter Moon will be a lovingly curated and tastefully packaged imprint and won’t add to the slew of two-dimensional nouveau deep house records begin released weekly.

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Skarn – Revolver

by on at 09:28am

Not content with making one of this year’s finest albums, Alessandro Cortini has adopted the pseudonym Skarn for this dance floor-based release on Shifted’s label. It probably won’t come as a massive surprise to anyone who has been moved by the majestic textures of Sonno that Revolver isn’t a typical techno release. For starters, it eschews the preposterously gloomy Goth and industrial tropes that many contemporary artists working in that space have unwisely embraced. Just as importantly, Revolver boasts the same qualities that make the LA-based producer’s experimental work so captivating.

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Move D – The KM20 Tapes Volume 2 (1992-1996)

by on at 15:14pm

After the first volume received such a warm reception, it’s good to see another round of archive material from Move D’s early days being unearthed by Off Minor. It seems to be something happening with ever-increasing frequency these days, as a wealth of long-standing or long-forgotten electronic veterans dust off their old C-90s and see what gems might be lurking away ready for a new crowd to enjoy. In the case of someone as prolific as David Moufang one can only imagine how long this series could go on for, but of course a bit of curatorial muscle is no bad thing to sort the wheat from the chaff, and so Jordan Czamanski issues forth these occasional 12”s on his Off Minor imprint and we get to enjoy some delightfully raw relics.

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Dan White – Untitled

by on at 17:26pm

You didn’t count wrong – The latest release from Dan White on Jurg Haller’s dystopian Forbidden Planet label is arriving out of sequence: A pressing issue led to the temporary shelving of the Australian producer’s first four-track solo EP while Annanan’s caustic Lyser release took its place. But in the world of Forbidden Planet (where every slab of vinyl shares Paul Gondry’s unsettling cover art and gurgling-but-danceable techno variations), a non-sequential release schedule seems disorientingly fitting. The debut of Dan White (real name Rory McPike) also proves that some things are worth waiting an excruciatingly long time for – McPike’s music sounds incredibly self-assured, spanning a range of tones as wide and eclectic as the record collection he displayed in a recent home studio interview.

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Michal Wolski – Blank Slate 008

by on at 09:13am

Continuing the release pattern that has driven Blank Slate from the off, Michal Wolski is making his solo vinyl debut here following an appearance on the Various Artists 006 release for Soren Jahan and Kamal Neem’s label. It’s a smart strategy that throws the tastes and styles of the label far and wide before homing in on particular facets, giving us the chance to keep up with Blank Slate’s enthusiastic A&Ring without passing over an particular gems. Wolski’s previous contribution, the crunching psych-out techno of “Derivate”, makes for a perfect primer to the full EP, where the many-layered characteristics of the single track get expanded upon over four separate cuts.

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Talamanca System – Balanzat

by on at 15:38pm

It wasn’t so long ago that Mark Barrott, the man behind the International Feel label, was thinking of calling time on his much-loved, Balearic-minded imprint. In fact, around the release of the label’s third anniversary compilation in 2012, he went on record as saying that “this could be the end”. Of course, the imprint’s hiatus was short-lived. After recharging his batteries and recording a serious amount of music at his Ibiza home – he relocated from Uruguay, where he founded the label, around the same time – the former Future Loop Foundation man returned with a string of new records. There was the slow acid-meets-Berlin techno chug of the Sonic Aesthetic 12”, then his first solo album under his given name – the decidedly ambient and picturesque Sketches From An Island. At the same time, he felt confident enough to reveal what most dedicated listeners already knew: much of the label’s “mysterious” output – those hard-to-find 12” singles by EFEEL, IFEEL Studio, Rocha, Bepu ‘N’ Gali, Young Gentlemen’s Adventure Society and Panda 88 – were all his handiwork.

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Various Artists – Rhythms Of The Pacific Volume 1

by on at 16:25pm

It would be foolish for an outsider sat at a desk across the Atlantic to proclaim any sort of movement happening in Vancouver right now, but it’s clear there is a certain vibrancy among the Canadian city’s underground resulting in some excellent music. Pacific Rhythm is the latest label to highlight this strain of talent, borrowing artists affiliated with both Mood Hut and 1080p for a fine debut 12” in Rhythms Of The Pacific Vol 1, the first of several planned split releases.

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DJ Qu – Raw 7

by on at 16:00pm

There is a patience to the release of Ramon Lisandro Quezada’s music which is befitting of the sounds contained within. Rather than a dizzying salvo of fresh material charting the artistic peaks and troughs of the producer, a gentle trickle of timeless material bolsters the cohesive body of work that Qu has built his name on since first emerging some eight years ago. This is not to say he is a static artist, but rather one that seems unmovable against the whims and trends of contemporary house music as he pursues his own singular, otherworldly vision.

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The Durian Brothers – Das Macht Modern

by on at 09:05am

It’s no bad thing when an artist or group has a little more to their creative manifesto than, ‘I just make stuff that sounds cool to me’. No-one gets off on the sound of anyone getting overly pretentious about their own work (perhaps apart from those guilty of it), but a little concept can set interesting boundaries for the music-making process to push up against, whatever the idea might be. In the case of The Durian Brothers, a trio of Düsseldorf artists who are not in fact related, their hook is customized, prepared turntables used as instruments.

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Geena – On The Top Of A Deep Hearted Fern

by on at 15:46pm

There’s a lot to admire about Quentin Vandewalle’s Antinote label, not least his steadfast refusal to pander to DJs. That’s not to say Antinote records can’t be played in clubs – far from it, in fact. It’s just that the majority of the label’s dancefloor successes have come from records that eschew the tried-and-tested in favour of more left-of-centre thrills, like the wonky tribal rhythms of Albinos’ bizarre but brilliant Ritual House series, or the scratchy techno experiments of Iueke’s archival Tape 12″s. These aren’t records for DJs, but rather records DJs can play: imaginative electronic music to dance to, rather than out and out “dance music”.

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Anxur – Anxur Takes Vol. 1

by on at 09:24am

Donato Dozzy’s latest project is Anxur with fellow Italian Marco Shuttle on the London-based artist’s Eerie label. Unlike Dozzy’s previous collaboration with Neel as Voices from the Lake, Anxur Takes Vol. 1, the first in a series of planned records with Shuttle, focuses squarely on the dance floor. Irrespective of what the accompanying blurb to this release had claimed about abstract influences insinuating their way into the recording process, to this listener’s ears, Dozzy and Shuttle have succeeded in delivering two distinctive but ultimately functional tracks.

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S. Olbricht – A Place Called Ballacid

by on at 12:21pm

If you take a peep at Hungarian producer Stephan Olbricht’s discography, it reveals a sizable body of work issued forth since 2010, and yet this appearance on the ever-strengthening Lobster Theremin represents the first excursion he has had on vinyl (at least under this moniker). Instead the man from Budapest has been more concerned with cassette-based releases, including a decent salvo of LPs, for the likes of Opal Tapes and his own Farbwechsel, but it was the collaborative release with Norwell for Cleaning Tapes that flew him onto the radar of this particular reviewer. There’s no escaping the fact that Olbricht’s sound is a snug fit on spools of tape, with all the dusty trappings you would expect of a contemporary lo-fi producer, but with this latest release there is a sense that some consideration has been made to nudge at least some of the music towards a more public, shared experience away from the private trappings of his usual format.

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Bass Clef vs Frak – Bad Trip

by on at 09:49am

Evolution has left us with some weird junk code over the years; goosebumps which mimic the rising fur of angered animals, ears that some of us can still wiggle, and the perplexingly useless yawn. While it may not be linked directly to the continuation of the human species, being able to sense when the atmosphere in a room changes is one that, inexplicable as it may be, many of us claim to possess. Pinning down the feeling isn’t easy – ask performance artist Marina Abramovic and a local reiki practicioner, and you’ll get two very different answers what affects the energy of a space. Ask a Hardwax employee, and the word “vibes” will likely find its way into the answer.

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Bruce – Not Stochastic

by on at 09:18am

Bruce, let’s get this out of the way first; I’m a fan of your name. It has all the comfy familiarity that hooks into a long lineage of Hessle producers ousting pretensions and easy to roll off the tongue at a moment’s notice. Honestly, Ben, David and Kevin talk of being particularly selective and difficult to unanimously please when selecting which records make the cut for their label, sitting on records for months in order to see if they’re a fit for Hessle or not, but I think there’s a formula at play here. New producers – call yourself Dave or Terry and you’ll be on the fast-track to success. Probably. Possibly.

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Zennor – Never In Doubt

by on at 09:44am

For those used to the sharp edges and alien signals of Pev’s output, this collaborative release with fellow Bristolian Andy Mac will probably come as something of a surprise. Mac has already proven himself with the killer Everytime and Regular & Irregular releases on Punch Drunk and Idle Hands, leaning more naturally towards house tempos and grooves even if he’s shown a propensity for some intriguing textures and atmospheres along the way. Pev meanwhile has hinted at a house strand to his output in the past, most notably with his sublime remix of Typesun’s “Heart Maths”.

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