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Older articles

Maxmillion Dunbar – Drizzling Glass

by on at 09:42am

drizzling-glass

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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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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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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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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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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R-Zone – Onefourone

by on at 16:56pm


Utter anonymity began as the calling card of the Global Darkness-spawned R-Zone series, and as fun as it is to try and play the perpetual guessing game of discovering which one of your favourite artists contributed the latest slab of wax on the Netherlands-based label, the series has long moved beyond needing any kind of gimmick. 2013 provided nine lightning-paced releases from a bevy of internationally renowned producers, and 2014 seems to be intent on matching that frantic productivity.

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Helena Hauff and Andreas Gehm – Helena Hauff meets Andreas Gehm

by on at 09:39am

This release doesn’t come as a surprise, but it does see some of the participants taking sideways steps. Solar One Music is The Exaltics’ label and is usually home to various iterations of electro. Similarly, Golden Pudel resident Helena Hauff collaborates with Andreas Gehm to provide a more direct approach to the dance floor than is her wont. While her recent Black Sites release on Panzerkreuz was laden down with acid spirals, the accompanying sound design and supporting rhythms were lo-fi and murky.  On this release, the tracks sound more direct and functional. It’s a stretch to say that she has cleaned up her act, but there is definitely a more purposeful approach in her two contributions to Helena Hauff meets Andreas Gehm.

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Tornado Wallace – Circadia

by on at 09:55am

When considering the careers of certain electronic producers, it’s possible to accurately pinpoint their “breakthrough moment”. In some cases, this may be a 12” single that crossed over into the mainstream, a surprise dancefloor anthem or revelatory remix. In other instances, it’s a track, EP or -very occasionally – an album in which they abandoned their trademark sound in favour of something more adventurous, densely layered or musically complex. Melbourne producer Lewis Day’s breakthrough came in 2013 with the release of Desperate Pleasures, his first – and so far only – outing on Tim Sweeney’s Beats in Space imprint.

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Dopplereffekt / Objekt – Hypnagogia

by on at 15:02pm

Any label that succeeds in coaxing the only original material from Dopplereffekt in six years deserves praise. To obtain a second release in as many years from Gerald Donald’s enigmatic electro project is damn impressive. Strictly speaking, Hypnagogia is not a new Dopplereffekt release per se as it features a contribution from Objekt on the flip.

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Pagan Sector – Hermopolis Magna

by on at 15:44pm


Lock up your virgin daughters and hide your household pets, the Pagan Sector duo is coming to steal your souls! This is a side project of one well-known European producer and a new artist whose star in the ascent. However, rather than daub themselves in woad and howl at the moon, these heathens prefer to reach altered states of consciousness by jamming on their machines until they have called up spectres of rave parties past.

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Richard Sen – Songs Of Pressure

by on at 16:06pm

Richard Sen has never been one to hide his influences. Right from the start of his career, way back in the late 1990s, his inspirations have been clear. First, during his spell as one half of the Bronx Dogs, it was B-boy breaks, Beatbox electro and space disco. Then, when he joined forces with Neil Beatnik as Padded Cell, it was punk-funk, horror soundtracks and dub disco. Latterly, he’s divided his time between curious disco re-edits and wonky original material that variously touches on Chicago house, EMB and Italo, as well as John Carpenter and Goblin.

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Zemi17 – Impressions

by on at 09:40am


If there’s one thing that marks the hazy peak of summer time Japan, it’s the deafening roar of thousands of tiny cicadas. Called “zemi” in Japanese,  these critters from the Hemiptera order soundtracked many of this reviewer’s summer mornings in Osaka at 5am; creating a wall of static chirping that made every sunrise feel like a centre-stage ticket to an experimental noise show. Despite the density of Japanese cities, which are usually concrete jungles of apartment complexes and bike paths, cicadas always seemed to infiltrate the most industrialized areas, always finding a bush or tree to nestle into and screech from – a testament to their noisey productivity.

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Jitterbug – Workers EP

by on at 09:36am


Appearances from Jitterbug come too far and few between, with just three previous releases on Uzuri reaching back to 2009, and more recently we have been treated to his collaborative work with Scott Ferguson under the JBSF moniker on Ferrispark. Now though, the first solo Jitterbug EP in two years drops on the (latterly) equally slow-burning Uzuri imprint, and it’s brimming with six red-blooded cuts that cram all manner of different ideas onto two sides of vinyl.

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In Aeternam Vale – Jealous God 05

by on at 16:10pm

The release schedule of French producer Lauren Prot reminds this reviewer of being reliant on the public bus transport system – you for wait for years for one to arrive and then they all come along at once. Since Veronica Vasicka’s Minimal Wave label put out its first In Aeternam Vale release back in 2009, the Lyon-based artist has been at his busiest since his mid-80s to mid-90s tape release activity. So is it time again for Aeternam Vale’s music or is Prot’s work music of this time? Certainly, with a renewed focus on anything with even a whiff of an industrial or wave undercurrent, it should feel like this latest record, Prot’s debut on the post-Sandwell District concern Jealous God, represents an alignment of the stars.

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Mind Fair – Take Me To The Bridge

by on at 09:16am

Despite the quality of the material they’ve released, Dean Meredith and Ben Shenton’s Mind Fair project has always been a little puzzling. While there are constant threads in their work – a love of live instrumentation, warm but sparse mix-downs and notable nods to dub disco, Baelarica and folksy psychedelia, for example – they have so far steadfastly refused to stick to one style. It’s almost as if they’ve yet to settle on one groove, or have far too many ideas than they know what to do with. Certainly, their shared inspirations are manifold, and to date they’ve dabbled in most of them.

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The Exaltics – Twelve

by on at 16:06pm


Working as The Exaltics, Robert Witschakowski may be just as prolific as some of his peers, but he doesn’t make the common mistake of releasing records that all sound the same. To highlight this point, the German producer’s latest release and debut for Shipwrec bears little relation to the brooding electro of his recent record for Clone West Coast Series. In fact, with the exception of some of the material that appears on Perc Trax or Power Vacuum, Twelve is unlike anything else being released at the moment. Inspired by the hard acid of Woody McBride and his Communique label and the sewer techno stomp of Bunker, Twelve is a nasty, distorted release that constantly threatens to spiral out of control.

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Kutmah – Our Mannequin

by on at 09:40am


Is it possible to truly be depressed in Los Angeles? Sure, there’s the agonizing traffic, omnipresent smog, and smoothies with baffling $14 price tags, but traditionally, it’s a city that gets portrayed as a slacker’s paradise – days spent surfing and getting stoned, nights spent hiccuping down the boulevards shaded by palm trees. This wasn’t true for Brighton-born, half Egyptian, half Scottish producer Kutmah, who had his door randomly kicked in several years ago by armed federal agents, and imprisoned him for two months on immigration-related charges.

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