Review: Following fine EPs from Healing Force Project and Mesak in 2017 and 2018, On Board Music flips the script on its release since then. "Point A" is the Berlin-based label's first mini-compilation and it's well worth a listen. Lanoche kicks things off via a spot of ultra-deep dub techno/ambient techno fusion (the wonderful "Love Fall", before Yugen doffs a cap towards the hypnotic, synthesizer-driven sound of late 1970s Krautrock on the suitably cosmic "Phantom". Serena Butler's "Fertile Fancy" is an immersive drift through enveloping ambient, Estrato Aurora's "Icnita" a bubbling deep techno epic and Vera Logdanini's "Vplanet" an acid-flecked trip into locked-in electronic hypnotism. In other words, this is a very fine collection of cuts.
Review: Given that Warp Records has described this set from ambient legend Brian Eno as "almost as much musical novel, as a traditional album", it's perhaps fitting that this limited edition comes housed in a hardback book. The album's narrative unfurls slowly across the album's four tracks, picking up pace during the 26-minute "Fickle Sun" suite of tracks. Predictably, it's all hugely atmospheric and attractive, featuring a mix of dreamy electronics, twinkling pianos, poetic spoken word extracts and, according to Eno's own notes, "three-dimensional recording techniques". Perhaps most intriguing of all, though, is closer "Fickle Sun I'm Set Free", which sees Eno paying tribute to the hazy, psychedelic pop of Harry Nilsson.
Review: There is now way that we're gonna sit here and tell you who Brian Eno is. If we did that, it would mean that we were not serious about what we do. We apologise in advance, but if you don't know who he is, then get yourself on Wikipedia and start reading! The British electronic pioneer - and veteran - is showing no signs of stopping in the second half of his career, and this new EP for London's mighty Warp is as refreshing as the very first time we heard his ambient textures. Named Reflection, this four-part release will no doubt blow you away and carry you over the clouds; it's a listening experience, and it doesn't get better than this. Mood music for the mood generation! Trust us, ENO still has it on lockdown...
Review: One year on from his full length release for Sheffield institution Warp, Bibio - the alias of Stephen Wilkinson from the West Midlands - returns to the dreamlike environments evoked in the original LP. Phantom Brickworks "IV" and "V" are more haunting yet evocative neo-classical experiences; a couple of long winding and introspective pieces that are at the same time bittersweet and hopeful. Warp have hyped Wikinson's forthcoming new material coming in 2019.
Review: "Phantom Brickworks III" is the lead single from Bibio's new album and it is a haunting yet evocative neo-classical experience. Fans of Erased Tapes, Nils Frahm or Olafur Arnalds should take note. On the album, the artist has stated that he doesn't believe in ghosts, but in places haunted by meaning. Places can change for a variety of reasons, he says, and are charged with atmosphere because of what they have been through or what they have been. Deep and intriguing stuff! Moreover, it is a collection of mostly improvised musical pieces that for some time have provided him with a 'mental portal' into places and times that are somewhere between illusion and reality. Bibio is the alias of Stephen Wilkinson from the West Midlands: Phantom Brickworks is his sixth album on UK electronica institution Warp, based in Sheffield, UK.
Review: Los Angeles based Palmbomen II makes an appearance for the next edition in famed Amsterdam festival Dekmantel's collaboration with the fashion label Patta. The Dutch protagonist of lo-fi, synth ambience - hooked on 90s nostalgia and retrofitted synthesisers and drum modules - delves deep into a colourful world of one par acid house, one par abstract electronic score. From the haunting ambience of "Theme" (original version) which creates tension and suspense in an early '80's VHS aesthetic, while the celestial new age soundscape "Study B" explores the wonders of FM synthesis, "Study E" likewise carries a grainy and saturated aesthetic in its elaborate chord progression.
Review: Danny 'Legowelt' Wolfers describes the music he makes under the Occult Orientated Crime alias as "an accumulation of 20 years of musical research and training, and what affect it has on the brain". Read into that what you will; in practice, his OOC output allows Wolfers to explore the more deep and cosmic end of the ambient spectrum, with sly nods towards jazz and movie soundtracks amongst the Motor City synthesizers, buried spoken word vocals and intergalactic chord progressions. The fantastically titled Just A Clown On Crack is the first OOC release to make it to wax, and effortlessly recalls the early '90s glory days of ambient house and intelligent techno, whilst still retaining many of Wolfers' stylistic trademarks.
Review: Mythical UK duo The Orb return after a year of silence, and they do so with their usual elegance and mystique. Kompakt is the imprint to welcome them back, a label to which they are now residents after years of releases on its catalogue. While the duo is primarily associated to beat-centric electronica and pseudo techno, their recent sound is sparse and exploratory, crossing the lines between drone and downtempo with utter ease. COW/Chill Out, World! is a journey in every sense of the word; the album goes from a selection of cinematic drone and deep ambience, to glitchy, distorted shades of power electronics. Moreover, this is a piece of extended music that truly works perfectly as one whole unit of music, from start to finish. In fact, we think it's the best thing these legends have put out in a while, and it makes us think that they'v never really been away, just preparing to deliver their very best. Recommended!
Review: It's so impressive to see that The Orb have managed to reinvent themselves so many times, over so many years. The legendary UK outfit is now comprised of original founder Alex Paterson and long-time Kompakt member Thomas Fehlmann. The former has been involved in the project since the late 80s, while that latter has been heavily involved in the then-called 'rave' scene from about the same time, so we're talking about true veterans here. They struck up a relationship with the aforementioned Kompakt over recent years, and their latest COW / Chill Out, World! album was a brilliantly constructed work of pure ambient delight. Here, we have an artillery of remixers to inject some beats into the original mixes, starting with Alex Willner aka The Field in what is a classic Kompakt reinterpretation of "9 Elms Over River Eno", followed by Dave DK's own tech-friendly version of "4am Exhale". Veteran Jorg Burger's remix of "5th Dimensions" unleashes a kinetic flow across the sparse planes of the original cut, and minimal techno pioneer Leandro Fresco has his say on "Wireless". It's a Kompakt family affair...
Review: While some associate Sasha's work to the late 90s and mid-00s, the veteran UK producer has never left. He's always been right here, at the centre of Europe's house scene. His recent LP for Late Night Tales, the glorious Scene Delete, is now under a process of remixing, and this comes as no surprise; why not reshape those dance floor tracks into something different, even more visceral. "Vapour Trails" is versioned by Kiasmos, and the result is a deep, harmonic house tune with a vast landscape of sounds at its core; Rival Consoles reshapes "Cassette Session E" by stretching the arrangement out to its very limits, and what we're faced with is a long and subtly-developing progressive house monster with a minimal edge. Excellent.