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Older articles

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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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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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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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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CHANNELXXX – Mangiami Edits 1 – 3

by on at 08:30am

“Fusion” is a word that draws grimaces when used in conjunction with food, jazz, or yoga, but if there ever was an acceptable use of the phrase, it might be applicable to Mangiami. Translating quite simply to “eat me”, Gianfranco Costa’s Lower East Side venue combined guest appearances from folks like Horse Meat Disco, Justin Vandervolgen and Bicep, all while serving artisanal and affordable pasta over the six-year course of its existence.

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Steve Bicknell – Lost Recordings 8: Transcendence

by on at 09:43am

The ‘Detroit-Berlin alliance’ was a term used in the title of an early ’90s Tresor compilation to describe the connection between the two cities’ techno communities. Arguably, the same term could be applied to London due mainly to Lost’s nights and labels. Steve Bicknell and Sheree Rashit were booking Detroit DJs like Jeff Mills and Robert Hood from the early ’90s onwards for their parties. In a metropolis where every few months heralds the arrival of a new micro-genre, it’s impressive that Lost has remained a go-to event for electronic music artists from Detroit and Chicago for the best part of a quarter of a century.

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Todd Osborn – T-Rhythm Trax Vol. 1

by on at 15:20pm

Todd Osborn is a versatile producer. While some of his fans know him for his drum’n’bass releases as Soundmurderer, he has also carved out a distinctive path as a house producer. In some instances, as Osborne, that voice is positioned in the direction of Chicago-style box jams – witness Bout Ready to Jak – or the eternal, infectious summer grooves of the Ruling EP (one of this writer’s favourite modern house records). For his return to Gerd Janson’s Running Back label, Todd reverts to his given name and puts his focus on sparse and basic rhythms.

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H.S. – A Verdigris Reader

by on at 09:39am

Proibito is a label that has been relatively gritty from day one: Their first release featured a 12-minute improvised freakout of a remix from Lori Antenes, Steve Summers and Bookworms, and label alumnus Hank Jackson has an obsession for distorting dance structures to the edge of legibility. This is the second time that Huerco S has graced Anthony Naples’ New York-based imprint, but any similarities between A Verdigris Reader and the filter-swept party cuts produced under his Royal Crown of Sweden moniker are few and far between.

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Severed Heads – Dead Eyes Opened

by on at 16:22pm

The reissue phenomenon shows no signs of slowing down, with Severed Heads the latest act plucked from the past and showcased for a new generation. Seattle label Medical Records is set to release two albums from the Australian act next month, and one of Severed Heads most revered songs forms the centrepiece of this 12” release on San Francisco’s Dark Entries label. In between the noise and experimentation, this release shows that the group understood how to write timeless electronic music. Released around the same time that Juan Atkins was introducing his Cybotron alias to the world, “Dead Eyes Opened” was the act’s biggest hit and shows that they were way ahead of most artists of their generation.

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Tambien – Der Elf

by on at 09:43am

If you were turned on to the work of Tambien by their last (and widely applauded) single for ESP Institute, there’s a good chance that you have a taste for the unusual in house and techno. Likewise such a taste probably stands you in good stead to embrace the switch up in style that comes with their second release on Lovefingers label, where the scratchy grunge of disheveled breakbeats and distorted synths have been usurped by lighter, more fluid elements. This is not to say that the emergent trio from Munich have completely upended their style, but rather that the overall mood exists in an entirely different head space to the “Drogato”/ “Dois” release, or even the tribal thrum and nutty sonics of their last EP on Public Possession.

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Erdbeerschnitzel – The Ample Waters

by on at 15:42pm

Since delivering his eccentric and slightly too eclectic self-released debut album Pathetik Party back in 2009, German producer Erdbeerschnitzel (AKA studio don Tim Keiling) has settled in to an effortlessly soulful, sun-ripe groove. While his productions are rooted in deep house, his tracks regularly doff an oversized cap to dreamy instrumental hip-hop, swinging broken beat and off-kilter modern soul, with vibrant synthesizers and hazy, cut-up vocal samples adding texture. The results, as seen on a swathe of fine EPs for 4Lux, Third Strike and Mirau, amongst others, are rarely less than impressive, with tracks veering from claustrophobic, all-enveloping deepness to the sort of shimmering dancefloor-focused goodness that evokes memories of lazy afternoons spent watching sunlight glinting off gently lapping waves, somewhere uncomfortably humid.

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Lowtec – Workshop 20

by on at 07:45am

Considering his position as one of the foundational figures in the Workshop mythos, Lowtec hasn’t actually released a whole EP on the label since 2008’s Workshop 06, while instead he has been busy spreading his non-conformist house style to labels such as Nonplus and Brainmath. It’s always a rewarding experience hearing an artist on their home turf, whether the context of the tracks has any actual bearing on the sounds pressed to wax or not. It’s simply that when an artist chooses to release their own material it suggests that they have utmost faith in those particular tracks, overriding any artistic temperament and self-criticism.

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