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Dego – Nuts!

by on at 12:00pm

There’s no underestimating the legacy that Dennis McFarlane has lingering behind him, from the formative days of 4 Hero through a myriad of aliases and projects (amongst them Nutmeg and the highly sought after Cousin Cockroach releases), always pushing the boundaries of broken beats where others would be scared to syncopate. As such it’s been heartening to see the likes of Eglo championing one of the great rhythmic innovators of UK electronic music, and so with a renewed vigour Dego is back in action with a release that finds him spreading his wings across three tracks for FaltyDL’s blossoming Blueberry imprint. Considering Drew Lustman’s affinity for soul-inflected broken beat styles, it’s a logical fit that finds McFarlane drawing on his foremost talents and delivering a record that sounds unmistakably like him.

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Finn – Keep Calling

by on at 15:38pm


It’s probably fair to say that the overuse of the R&B vocal sample in contemporary bass music was one of the most painful things to witness throughout 2011 and 2012. It’s no coincidence that the peak of this aesthetic coincided with the move of producers like Blawan, Joy Orbison and many others towards house and techno, as the limited stock of Cassie and Aaliyah vocals were wrung out by a hundred faceless producers like a damp tea towel. Despite pirate radio samples giving R&B vocals a run for their money of late, you know that when even Jamie xx has taken to sampling Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore that the R&B tap has run well and truly dry.

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Marco Shuttle – Fanfara

by on at 09:14am

Total up the names of all the artists who’ve played at The Bunker parties, and you’ll get a 3000+ word count – that’s more than most academic essays (or Juno Plus features). Often splitting events between live up-and-coming NYC bands upstairs and late-running DJ sets downstairs (in keeping with the party’s subterranean-referencing title), the last decade of Bunker parties has a history so exhaustive that even the label’s website admits that it’s hard to track all the permutations.

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Xymox ‎– Subsequent Pleasures

by on at 09:51am

Part of the pleasure of the current surge in reissues lies in a sort of archival fetishism, in hearing the crackles of the lost and forgotten – this, in a sense, is an EP rescued from the flames, and as such its crackles are particularly precious. There have been various ‘90s CD versions of this, and it has been circulating in one form or another for decades, but it’s still admirable that Dark Entries have the sense of occasion of returning to vinyl Clan of Xymox’s first EP Subsequent Pleasures, the unsold copies of which had been destroyed by the band in a fit of cosmic dissatisfaction circa 1984. The record is a sort of blueprint: though Clan of Xymox (then simply Xymox, the name they kept later for their easier side-project) evolved greatly from here, the seeds of their future as masters of dark-synth anthems are already audible in a rough, disorderly form. The record also holds a couple of insights into the band Xymox didn’t become, making it interesting for fans but also for wave lovers more generally.

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Jaures – Tsoyberbarg

by on at 09:48am


On the front cover of this third release on Die Orakel a couple stand in front of what looks like a giant observatory telescope and gaze into the magnified cosmos. It’s a fitting visual accompaniment to the label’s far out sonic approach. The brainchild of Live At Robert Johnson music director Oliver Hafenbauer, Die Orakel has so far avoided any obvious moves, favouring the left of centre over convention.

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Jacob Korn – EP1

by on at 08:30am


Between 2009 and 2012, Jacob Korn could do no wrong. The Dresden native started his recording career in fine style, delivering a 12” for Running Back – “I Like The Sun” – that blurred the boundaries between hypnotic deep house and hazy Balearica. Over the next three years, his productivity soared, with releases on Left of the Dial, Dolly and Permanent Vacation enhancing his reputation further.

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Herbert – Part Six

by on at 14:34pm

Herbert - Part Six

As a relentlessly forward-charging artist of serious critical note, it was with a sharp inhalation of surprise that long-time Matthew Herbert devotees greeted the news that the British electronica artist was returning to the refined and slender house music that he built his name on. Not only that, but with this fresh Herbert release titled Part Six it spelled out an addendum to the seminal series widely recognised early career peek, as immortalised in the Parts One Two And Three collection released in 1996. So, 18 years on, where is Herbert’s house sound at and can it live up to such a monolithic legacy?

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Bluntman Deejay – Esoteric (Real)

by on at 09:00am

Bluntman Deejay exemplifies the word “esoteric”, that is, intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialised interest. This could be true for the whole universe of Vancouver’s Mood Hut label, within which the anonymous producer also operates as part of the Dream Carpets and Aquarian Foundation monikers – perhaps he’s the totality of both of them, maybe just a member of a vast collective. Either way, Mood Hut’s aesthetic is another thing that could be described as esoteric – shaky line-drawings of stick figures playing Microsoft Word clip art, ying yang signs with weed leaves interwoven in the centre, and album art that seamlessly mimics basement-bargain house jams from the mid ’90s have all become defining characteristics of the label.

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Scientific Dreamz of U – Visionz Of An Abstract Plane

by on at 09:00am

Not content with launching the anonymous artist-focused Head Front Panel sub-label, Tabernacle have recruited Scientific Dreamz of U for a release on the mothership. The mysterious act has only one previous release to its credit, but is starting to carve out a niche with its tripped out, epic techno jams. The combination of the artist’s name and track titles like “Monopole Vortex Field {Dirac Sea Re-Immersion]” scream the word ‘trance’ at this reviewer.

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Eomac – Monad XVII

by on at 16:22pm

A woman stands at the edge of a cliff. Looking over, she feels both an immense fear of falling, and, inexplicably, a terrifying impulse to purposefully throw herself off the edge. The complete freedom to choose one’s own destiny, to throw oneself off or to stay put, was what Kierkegaard called the “dizziness of freedom.” It’s also an applicable term for the dirt-caked rave sounds of Ian McDonnell’s stylistically nomadic Eomac project. McDonnell’s music skitters across the spectrum somewhat disorientingly – his recent Spectre LP showed that he could hop between sounding like an Irish counterpart to Function or Shed, while other times sounding much more reminiscent of _moonraker’s obtuse, nerve jangling rhythms. His fanbase seems equally varied, with support for Eomac comes from house staples such as Nina Kraviz and Anthony Naples, as well as a somewhat different corner of the dance music spectrum – most notably Thom Yorke and Aphex Twin.

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Retape – Signals on the Double

by on at 09:00am


030303 is not as high-profile as other Dutch labels, but Signals on the Double shows that it understands the art of A&R better than many. From Norway, Retape is a new signing for the label and, as this record shows, a strong addition to the roster. In some ways, it’s a strange move for 030303, which thus far has focused on acid and glitch-flavoured releases.

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Yør – Lack Of Beeing EP

by on at 15:00pm


Is it just me, or has there been a noticeable rise in the number of long form tracks appearing on house and techno singles recently? Karen Gwyer’s excellent New Roof EP was a lengthy sprawl on both sides, Bass Clef went all-out for a 20-minute opus on his recent “Lower State Of Unconsciousness” and JTC throws down plenty of running time for “Veronja One” on his upcoming Escalator To Sorga EP. Just to clarify, we’re talking anything pushing well over the ten minute mark here, and while length should always be secondary to content, it does make an interesting statement on the kind of house and techno that edges away from club use and into the more esoteric ‘listening’ domain.

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ADMX-71 – The Redacted Files

by on at 09:00am


Since its inception, Ron Morelli’s label has released music from new or under the radar artists. The Redacted Files marks a change in that approach, with L.I.E.S. putting out its first record from New York techno veteran Adam X under his ADMX-71 guise. Hopefully it’s the start of the label’s patronage of established producers pursuing side projects. After all, there is a limit to the amount of lo-fi, tape-frazzled house any label can put out.

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Rawaat – Day Laborer EP

by on at 10:23am


Having steered the good ship Crisis Urbana for the past year through some choice cassette and digital releases, Detroit techno activist Rawaat makes his full debut with a release for Lobster Theremin, a label with a similar penchant for analogue house music on the fringes of tradition. As they would themselves describe Crisis Urbana, the main ingredients here are, “rhythm & noise”. Naturally the studio output of Rawaat makes for a neat addendum to the label curation work, occupying a similar space in which surreality looms large in amongst the drum machine rhythms and grubby tones.

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Faugust – Devotions (1984-2006)

by on at 15:22pm


James Shaw has achieved recognition thanks to a series of singular techno releases on Avian, Blueprint and his own Our Circula Sound label under the Sigha guise. While they have allowed him to carve out an international reputation, this project sees him unlock a lot more of his potential. Unlike Sigha’s trademark purist grooves, Devotions is an abstract and nebulous offering. Occupying a grey area where electronic and guitar-based sound scapes coalesce, its frazzled, fuzzy guitar chords and evocative, melancholic synth tapestries form bluesy moods and understated pieces.

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Helen – Witch / Zanzibar

by on at 16:25pm

Tis the season to return to the superficial pleasures of past Italian summers, and to dance all night in abandoned discotheques by the murky Adriatic sea. Bang on the summer solstice, Dark Entries bring out a strange and interesting trio of Italo 12’’s, which in a sense cater to whatever your preferred strand of Adriatic sound may be: Art Fine’s Dark Silence (tinged with the epic brushstrokes of dark wave à la Fockewulf 190), Peter Richard’s Walking in the Neon (a driving hi-NRG metropolitan affair) and this little gem, Helen’s extremely rare Witch / Zanzibar.

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British Murder Boys – Live In Tokyo

by on at 11:34am

To say that Karl O’Connor and Tony Childs’ British Murder Boys project was shocking is something of an understatement. For an Irish national, it brings back deeply unsettling memories of Thatcher’s cold-blooded shoot to kill policy in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. For a wider audience it makes reference, either directly or subliminally, to blasphemy, child abuse and state/military-led brutality and oppression.

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Shanghai Den – RS1407

by on at 16:57pm

It’s new talent time once again at R&S, as the veteran label invites hitherto unknown artist Shanghai Den to deliver his debut release with nowt to go on but a previous guest spot on Falty DL track “King Brute”. While there may be no frame of reference in which to place the artist, the music seems to be just fine with that, as this short but sweet two-tracker blurts out a wild and dizzying torrent of singular ideas and approaches that will be turning heads anywhere it gets played.

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Head High – Megatrap

by on at 10:30am

It’s been a year since Rene Pawlowitz’s last Head High missive and in the meantime, electronic music has been catching up with the German’s penchant for early ’90s influences. From the chart-invading success of retro house acts – witness Disclosure’s Glastonbury headline status and the trite Route 94 – to the constant reissuing of classic Chicago and Detroit releases – Derrick May and DJ Deeon records have been re-released in the past few weeks – it feels like that period between the explosion of acid house and the emergence of hardcore is being put under the cultural microscope. Who knows, maybe we’re only a few months away from a happy hardcore revival?

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El Mahdy Jr. – Gasba Grime

by on at 09:44am

As a producer based in Turkey, combining western club forms like dubstep, grime and hip hop with Raï and Arabesk, culturally popular but critically maligned genres in Turkey and his native Algeria, El Mahdy Jr. is on the opposite side of the fence to Western producers appropriating Eastern sounds in their productions. For El Mahdy however, such an act is not simply an aesthetic choice; speaking to The Wire last year he described these genres as “rebellious” and “political”, adding a dimension to his music that goes beyond the purely aesthetic choices made by a lot of Western producers appropriating the sounds of the East. “I tried to use my own cultural memories,” he explained. “My music is not about a tourist’s dream that redesigns a place to comply with them.”

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