Review: By and large known for his work at Will & Ink and Bonny Donny to other labels like Royal Oak, Heist and Wolf Music, Frits Wentink brings to Dekmantel a very personal concept album that takes in the inspiration of American visual artist Erik Madigan Heck to the whispered guest vocals of Hollywood actress Tilda Swinton. A largely ambient, choral and classical experience graced by poetic passages of the forlorn, a bridge into techno is crossed by the radical and deconstructed grooves of tracks like "A Fracture In The Vapor" next to Frits Wentink's 'Garden' mix of "Safe Passages". Find walls of noise in BvDub's remix next to the hype DnB sounds of "Delusion Of Safety" in an album that Dekmantel calls a soundtrack in which many people will find solace in those they remember. Find extra digital only remixes from Matthew Herbert and The Soft Pink too!
Review: Lifted from the minds of former record store clerks turned influential DJs and selectors Vladimir Ivkovic & Ivan Smagghe, IDMEMO: A Future Of Nostalgia presents a curation of tracks taken from the pair's time behind the counter. Zoning in on a period where indie rock was colliding with electronic music you'll find oddball rarities from associated Warp acts like The Black Dog and Seelfeel to others by Zugzwang and IF. Discover lost sounds from a bygone era in Passarani 2099's "Ixora", Abfahrt Hinwil's "Tech 7" and The Marcia Blaine School For Girls' "Sometimes My Arms Bend Back". Nothing like a fresh hit of nostalgia for something new.
Review: 'Skylark' was undoubtedly one of the shimmering highlights on Lord of the Isles' rather good 2016 album, In Waves, so it's great to see it return to stores in re-mastered and remixed form. This time round, the superb original - a spacey and emotive affair that sees the Scottish artist wrap a kick-heavy drum machine beat in star-fall synthesizer motifs and elongated early morning chords - comes accompanied by some fresh remixes. His old pal Linkwood steals the show with an epic, ultra-deep version that sounds like ambient techno fused with broken beat, while Tourist Kid provides a similarly impressive experimental ambient take. Bonus cut 'OmniMulti', a house tempo exercise in melancholic Motor City futurism, is also rather good.
Review: Music From Memory has a reputation for doing the unexpected. It would be fair to say that few would have predicted the Dutch label's decision to release a collection "electronic and contemporary music from Brazil". As usual, the Red Light Records affiliated crate-digging crew has done a superb job with Outro Tempo, which was compiled by label affiliate John Gomez. Musically, it's predictably varied but always beautiful. It mostly focuses on tracks that fuse traditional Brazilian instrumentation, percussion and musical ideas, with elements of electronica, ambient, jazz-fusion and Reich style minimalism. The accompanying liner notes do a great job in putting the collection in context, explaining how the music was often inspired by political changes within Brazil during the 1980s.
Review: London's Max Cooper has stated that when he plays a live show, he likes to deconstruct the performance into fragments of sound on a granular level, paying meticulous attention to detail. For his Emergence live A/V (that he's been touring for the last two years), he applies these same principles to the visuals; using a variety of MIDI methods that are synced and allow him to manipulate both in realtime. It's the story of how "everything comes from (almost) nothing," using knowledge, theories and insights gained from his previous role as a geneticist. Cooper weaves a together a fascinating auditory experience here, his second album since 2014's Human, covering a variety of sonic moods in his now signature way. Take for instance "Trust" featuring the lovely vocals of Kathrin deBoer and a bit of help from good studio mate Tom Hodge; here jazzy drum and bass arrives via field recordings and classical aesthetics in wonderful harmony. Also, the deep, multi layered and ethereal journey track "Waves" sees Cooper on point, as usual, until "Cyclic" goes for something a bit more ferocious on this broken beat techno exercise where inventive use of sampling and sound design collide with perfect tension and suspense.
Review: Brian Williams Lustmord project is up there with the very best of British ambient and drone. The man has been constantly pioneering the genre since the late 90s, and its no wonder that John Wonzencroft comes calling for him on his Touch stable. Dark Matter is, indeed, a dark piece of work; chimerical in every way possible, and wide-eyed enough to leave the listener with enough room to interpret the tunes as they wish. From "Subspace" through to "Black Static", Williams paints a bleak and ominous picture, a hollow wail of fibrous sound textures that enter the world of the totally surreal. We won't pollute your mind with too many words; it's up to you to understand how to interpret these sounds.
Review: It's been some three years since the last Monolake transmission on Imbalance Computer Music - if you exclude this year's 'long edit' of the artist's much loved Gobi - and a further four years since the last Monolake LP. Constructed in 2020 by Robert Henke, Archaeopteryx presents a vastly complex album of sound design taking in curious technology like a modified Linn Drum, recordings of various orchestral percussions and 'a few modular things' amongst and arsenal of enviable analogue machinery, and of course Ableton Live, that only a head like Henke could program and remain sane. The result is a deeply conceptual offering that twinkles, gurgles and tolls as much it does breath, communicate and confuse. Find electronica-laced, European informed dubstep in "Specimen Fractal" to piano minimalism and left of field microhouse in "Orbit Incomplete" amid a swathe of undefinable beat making and ambient focused processes. At 19-tracks long, Archaeopteryx comes with a dedication to Serbian composer, mathematician and physicist, Marko Nicodijevic, adding yet more intrigue to the evolution of the Monolake sound.