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Older articles

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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The Loose Control Band – Lose Control

by on at 16:41pm

While Golf Channel has been consistently more interesting than the coma-inducing television network it garners its name from, the two entities do share some characteristics. After all, if there’s been one constant over the last seven years of Phil South’s New York-centric label, it would seem to be the way Golf Channel embraces relaxation. This isn’t a substitute term for ‘boring’ by any means – while often breezy and ethereal, there’s solid dancefloor sensibility inscribed in the best Golf Channel slow burners, which makes the drawn out culmination of Justin Vandervolgen’s edits or DJ Nature’s electronic ballads all the more satisfying.

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Pink & Black – Sometimes I Wish

by on at 09:14am

The reissue market is such a riot these days, sometimes you have no idea how on earth people’s imaginations get captured by certain records. It’s a riot, but it’s also a lot of fun: rather than kneeling devotedly before the monument of a record you’ve been hunting for for years, you get to listen through and go mmm, okay, and? My first encounter with Pink and Black’s Sometimes I Wish was, I must confess, one of those. I found it immediately lovely but I failed to see why it was important to hear it again. Then I listened again, and again, and again, and my conclusion is that precisely because it isn’t particularly memorable, or maverick, or rare we should listen to it. It’s sort of… ‘exemplary’. It’s a great example of what English synth-pop – and of what loads of English synth-pop – used to be.

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Jeremiah R. – Underwater Title

by on at 08:09am

In the Juno Plus label profile of Tabernacle last year, it was clear that the people behind the label have a deep and wide-reaching knowledge of and passion for various electronic music forms. Even a cursory glance at Tabernacle’s back catalogue makes it quite clear that they bring this passion to bear on their label. While some of their peers might profess a love of underground electro, few have the conviction to actually release it. In fact, most people running labels these days would probably view deep, esoteric electro as a form of commercial suicide.

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Doubt – Poor Dog

by on at 13:58pm

Hailing from Minneapolis and with a spread of aliases and releases behind him, Ian Lehman has only been operating as Doubt for the past twelve months, and after strong salvos of techno delivered on Mistress and Disposable Communities he’s now been snapped up by Don’t Be Afraid to throw down four tracks that see him pushing his sound into more distinctive realms. It makes sense really, as the UK label has always sought to coax out the more playful and intriguing characteristics in its chosen artists, and while the earlier Doubt singles showed promised they were also somewhat in thrall to more typical techno tropes.

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Nummer – Reach EP

by on at 09:02am

Judging any artist on the strength of their early releases is fraught with danger. While they may have spent years cultivating a trademark style prior to securing that elusive debut, they could just have easily struck lucky. A first 12” featuring four almighty cuts might be the sum total of their completed tracks, or at least the best of a largely mediocre bunch. Of course, such early explorations can hint at greatness, or at least suggest the producer – or producers – in question have, to coin an old cliché, “something about them”. It might be a keen grasp of atmosphere, a desire to mix things up, or an innate sense of what works on a dancefloor. By the same measure, it might be a glimpse of their influences or a sure-footedness about their production that most catches the ear.

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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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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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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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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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Richard H Kirk – Never Lose Your Shadow

by on at 09:24am


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


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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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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