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Leibniz & Credit 00 – Basement Toolz Volume 2

by on at 11:10am


Even if you tried really hard, it would be difficult to find two records that sound more unlike one another than the fourth and fifth Rat Life releases. While Swedish band The Pagan Rites’ Every Mauser & Browning had a dance edge at times, it was more focused on new wave guitars and lo-fi punk production. By contrast, the follow up release is all about the peak time.

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Max McFerren – Sipps

by on at 13:22pm


It’s turning out to be a pretty good year for Max McFerren. In the last nine months he’s delivered a murky chunk of dark, acid-flecked techno on Don’t Be Afraid, a pair of quirky, rave-and-UK garage influenced workouts for Allergy Season’s free Side Effects May Include compilation, and a typically kaleidoscopic, nostalgia-soaked cassette – under the arguably more familiar MCFERRDOGG alias – for 1080p. All bar the Don’t Be Afraid outing are colourful, cute and energetic, fusing his love of vibrant, vintage synthesizer sounds with breaks, samples and beats inspired by early British hardcore, sweaty rave-era house, and all manner of long-dead electronic genres. That all have sounded like nobody else is testament to his growing strength as a producer.

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Various Artists – Rhythms of the Pacific Volume 2

by on at 13:55pm

Various Artists - Rhythms of the Pacific Volume 2

While the attention heaped on Vancouver’s blossoming electronic music scene has left some of its tight-lipped practitioners a little perplexed – Pender Street Steppers, in particular, have admitted in private that they’re finding the attention a little baffling – there’s little doubt there’s something inspirational happening on the “Canadian Riviera”. Of course, we all now know about the collective of DJs and musicians behind the Mood Hut label, and the cassette enthusiasts that run the much discussed 1080p imprint. Less is known, though, about the crew behind Pacific Rhythm, an online vinyl mail order service turned record label, and now record store.

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DJ Overdose – Hero’s Gone Mental

by on at 12:19pm

DJ Overdose Header-590

The latest debut on Ron Morelli’s label seems like an unusual musical choice, but there is no doubt DJ Overdose and L.I.E.S. are ideologically and historically connected. He belongs to that wave of Dutch artists who provided inspiration to Morelli and William Burnett at the turn of the ’00s (Overdose has already released on Burnett’s WT label as Model Man) – and he shares a similar DIY approach to production with other artists on the L.I.E.S. roster. However, while Overdose’s music is raw, it is never under-produced, and this four-tracker sees him bring a range of influences to his rough electro sound.

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Inoue Shirabe – Down Into The Black Church / Camping In Your Soul

by on at 17:16pm


He may only be 10 months into his recording career, but already Inoue Shirabe has made a positive impression. In the space of two releases – a debut 12” for Antinote in January, and an ultra-limited cassette for birdFriend [sic] – he’s proved to be a dab hand at delivering the kind of vibrant, kaleidoscopic deep house and melodious machine music that recalls the work of some of Japan’s most expressive electronic musicians.

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Different Fountains – The Snake

by on at 12:10pm

With their Shrimp That Sleeps album for Meakusma last year, Michael Langeder and Bernado Risquez reached a wider audience for their Different Fountains project. The fluid style adopted by the pair across the LP certainly stood out as a unique proposition, moving from dusky deep house ruminations to outright abstraction by way of tribal incantations across eleven tracks, all played out with an instinct that cared less for the dancefloor than for creating a spiritual feeling regardless of context. Meanwhile their Different Foundations Editions label has served as an outlet for some of the album tracks with a louder 12” cut and some additional remixes, most notably drawing on stand-out tunes – “Muybridge” and “Deep Home” – and handing them to Karen Gwyer and Madteo respectively for some killer reworkings.

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passEnger – Hybrid Science

by on at 14:59pm

There’s always been something stripped back and matter-of-fact about Tabernacle Records’ releases. While their 12” singles come with printed labels, they generally offer up little else in the way of information about artist or release. This may be due to a desire to retain an air of mystery – something they’ve long cultivated – or simply an attempt to let the music speak for itself. Either way, the message is simple: listen and come to your own conclusions. If you want to find out more, do the digging yourself.

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Gavin Russom – Body Minimalism

by on at 16:59pm

If last year’s two releases on Entropy Trax represented a high point for US producer Gavin Russom’s love of melodies and spaced out disco, then this debut release on Belgian label Curle sees him show off a darker, more malevolent side to his palette. Yet despite this shift in sound, the same production principles remain and each track on Body Minimalism is a masterclass in crafting hypnotic dance floor grooves.

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Obalski – According to Obalski

by on at 06:26am

Having made his debut appearance on Public Possession last year, the mysterious figure known as Obalski returns for a second outing at a time when their label of choice is well established as a bastion of unpredictable delights alongside more dancefloor friendly fare. The last outing, the Introducing Obalski 12”, was a ranging affair that stretched across five tracks and featured a philosophical Chevy Chase popping up with some spiritual advice in amongst delicate ambient melodies and off kilter rhythmic weirdness. With no other activity since, and no prior form, just what has changed in the world of Obalski since that first surreal experience?

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Beatrice Dillon – Face A/B

by on at 06:00am

Listen to the opening track on Beatrice Dillon’s new EP for Where to Now? and you’ll know what Thomas Pynchon was talking about in the first line of Gravity’s Rainbow, when he writes “a screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now. It is too late.” Dillon’s immersive mesh of electronic and acoustic sounds aren’t quite as apocalyptic as the atom bomb Pynchon was referencing, per say, but once you hear the first squelching notes of collaborator Verity Susman’s tenor saxophone overtop Dillon’s raw-rubbed techno framework, it’ll be hard to focus on much else. The tracks on Face A/B strike a rare and powerful balance: Chaotic and dishevelled enough to throw your brain off balance, but with an internal rhythm and logic that bodies recognize and act on.

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Kuedo – Assertion Of A Surrounding Presence

by on at 09:35am

It was surprising news when Jamie ‘Kuedo’ Teasdale and Joe Shakespeare announced Knives, a joint platform for music, visual art and graphic design in May. There have rarely been any signs of activity by Kuedo since Severant, his 2011 album, which shaped his vision of retro leaning sci-fi music. Together with Roly Porter as Vex’d, Teasdale was one of the innovators in dubstep, but Severant demonstrated a progression to work with detailed sounds of synthesizers and customized beats that stem from Footwork and contemporary Hip-Hop. It showed an intellectual approach to music but the tracks and Kuedo’s DJ sets are still strongly connected to bass heavy club music.

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Steffi – JBW25

by on at 11:42am

Steffi Doms has established solid footing in Berlin’s music community over the last six years which means she’s pretty much mastered it all. Not only can she create propulsive, textured techno tracks to rival the devastating functionality of the rest of the Ostgut Ton roster, but she can also create uplifting results when she chooses to dip into the populist side of house balladry. Coming off a recent run of festival appearances, Doms has also mastered her first live set circuit, recreating her work with improvised tactility that responds to the needs of whoever’s in front of her. Doms’ versatility was part of what kept 2014′s Power of Anonymity engaging throughout; and while this writer’s favourite moments on the LP included the borderline goofy Prince-esque squelch of Virginia & Dexter-collaboration “Treasure Seeking”, the wake of the LP finds her revisiting techno, electro and IDM roots in the form of a set of remixes from Answer Code Request and Further Reductions.

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Black Rain & Shapednoise – Apophis

by on at 09:20am

There’s something undeniably fascinating about different generations of underground musicians collaborating, and we’ve certainly seen our fair share of late. There are the obvious ones; the force to be reckoned with that is Carter Tutti Void, bass frequency specialists Pinch and Sherwood and, of course; how could we not mention Surgeon & Starlight. Now we’re presented with a joint endeavour from New York City no-wave legend Stuart Argabright and sonic terrorist Nino ‘Shapednoise’ Pedone on the latter’s newly inaugurated imprint Cosmo Rhythmatic. Unlike Pedone’s other label Repitch, which he runs with fellow Italians Ascion and D. Carbone and is known for tough, functional techno for dancefloors, Cosmo Rhythmatic is said to be devoted to more outer limits sound experiments. This was seen on the first release by French avant-garde producer Franck Vigroux and this new offering treads the same musical territory.

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Bézier – 皆 (Mina)

by on at 14:16pm

Back in 2010, San Francisco’s self-styled “queer DJ/artist collective” Honey Soundsystem launched a record label called HNY Trax. Their first release, Honey Soundsystem Presents: Brotherhood, was a quirky, limited edition CD-R box set, containing a seemingly random selection of scaled-down artworks and music from “like-minded dance music producers around the world”. Tucked away in the midst of that 13-track selection was a synthesizer-heavy cut entitled “Serengeti Drive”, credited to Robot Hustle, a now long forgotten alias of synthesizer obsessed Honey Soundsystem resident Robert Yang. Since then, HNY Trax’s output from the likes of Stereogamous and Alexis Blair Penney has arguably been dwarfed by the successful rise of the Honey Soundsystem nights and the label went into hiatus in 2013.

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Ossia – Red X

by on at 10:46am

Wading through the deluge of Young Echo affiliated material, Daniel ‘Ossia’ Davies has come a round-about way to his first solo release proper, but at the point of making the Ossia debut on Blackest Ever Black he has laid some strong foundations underneath him. From starting out with the Peng Sound! parties in Bristol through to jointly running the Rwd Fwd cassette-friendly online shop, not to mention co-steering the No Corner and Hotline labels, Davies has shown a dogged determination to uphold un-digital, handmade, DIY ethics in music with an authentic conviction that is palpable in an age of ‘shabby chic’ and other such faux-aged aesthetics.

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Miss Kittin & The Hacker – Lost Tracks Vol 1

by on at 10:46am

Flashback: I’m back at a Mediterranean pool party in a miniskirt made out of a binbag having an incoherent conversation about how awful it is to work in the fashion industry when none of us ever worked in the fashion industry. Bravo, Dark Entries, for putting out records that are interesting nevermind how brutal the memories they conjure might be. Odd decision, to dig through the studio offcuts of Miss Kittin and The Hacker, but an interesting one. Following Josh Cheon’s mantra “if I like it, I’ll put it out”, as he told Richard Brophy on Juno Plus, there’s a certain logic to the move as well. I remember buying a CD compilation by INCredible called This Is Not The ‘80s years ago in an Athens record store which featured a number of Kittin and co. tracks and thinking mmm, yes well, this is not the ‘80s but it undoubtedly descends from there.

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Spatial – Emergence #1

by on at 09:44am

When Spatial first emerged in late 2008, dubstep was wholeheartedly entering its mutation phase, splicing cells with techno, electro and drum & bass to create the groundwork for what could only be described as a wonderfully amorphous electronic music scene as we know it today. The first of his own Infrasonics releases, with their crisp presentation and equally aerodynamic production rightly turned heads, seeming to tap into the funky possibilities of minimal techno and cheeky 2-step getting it on around the 140 bpm margin. The label branched out to include an early (and decidedly different) appearance from Ike Release, as well as the likes of xxxy and Jamie Grind, and it seemed as though a little of the needlepoint focus had perhaps been lost in a reflection of the dizzying new tributaries springing up away from that thrill of the new that dubstep brought about.

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Slack DJs – Glasshouse Mountains EP

by on at 13:31pm

On paper, this TTT collaboration between two of Paris’s more interesting producers of recent times seems a little unlikely. On one hand, you have L.I.E.S regular and Editions Gravats co-owner Low Jack, a producer whose distinctive output has blurred the boundaries between industrial-influenced stripped back techno, experimental noise, dirt-encrusted ambience and opium-soaked. On the other, there’s D.K., whose recent releases for Antinote have been almost the opposite: breezy, picturesque, warm and melodious, with clear Balearic and new age house influences. While his releases under the alternative 45 ACP alias have been a little on the dustier, more distorted side – particularly the Change of Tone mini-album on L.I.E.S – unfettered beauty and positive mood enhancement remain the foundation of his output.

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Acre & Filter Dread – Interference

by on at 09:33am

The dark can make structural forms invisible, altering our sense of perception. Blackness sometimes also enables an atmosphere of creation. You don’t see anything, but you can imagine everything. Individually Acre and Filter Dread have created sinister, fierce and frayed music caught between grime, techno, and UK garage and continue this path together on their first collaborative release, Interference. In case it is too dark in the club to see your hands in front of your face you will at least feel your body with these tracks.

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Koova – This Is Not My Future

by on at 09:56am

Koova, aka London Modular Alliance member Gavin Pykerman, has only a small catalogue of releases, but has put out music under this banner on some of the most respected modern electro labels, including AC Records, Abstract Forms and Brokntoys. Adding to that list is This Is Not My Future, which is issued on the acclaimed CPU imprint. While the Koova sound is rooted in classic electro and techno sounds, there is no sense of the frosty purism that often prevails on new school, retro-facing releases.

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