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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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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

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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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