Review: K7's DJ Kicks compilation series is given a new makeover with their latest juggernaut from London-based electronic deviant, Actress, who gives one of his rare appearances out of the live format and onto the decks. As expected, the techno shape-shifter puts through a diverse mix of 20-plus tracks spanning old-school Chicago house to more contemporary experimental techno and ambient-filtered dance music. This continuous DJ mix includes vintage Detroit techno from Reel By Real, distorted outsider disco from the Shit & Shine crew, Gherkin Jerk's "Red Planet" and a new cut from the man himself, "Bird Matrix". It's safe to say that this mix is comprehensive of the current state of affairs in the techno world: cuts ranging from the distorted house of Breaker 1 2, golden era electronica from Autechre, TTT's Zennor, Germany's STL and even PPU affiliate Moon B! An essential collection of music from 2015, highly recommended, of course!
Review: Representing a spread of some of the strongest operators in the ever-more fractious world of electronica, Bleep celebrates ten years of operations with this strong package of exclusive tracks. The styles run the gamut from nervy droning sub-techno courtesy of Gas through to Nathan Fake's charmingly fuzzy melodic bombast. Notable inclusions come from Machinedrum with an excellent line in live drum funk, Autechre refiguring the slow jam as a hallucinatory march, and Shackleton turning out some fiery percussive patterns. When the cast also includes Lone, Oneohtrix Point Never, Untold and many more besides, who needs any more convincing?
Review: Autechre has always divided opinion. There are those who consider them geniuses; mavericks who make out-there computer music that simultaneously sounds like a riot in a steelworks, and an argument onboard the International Space Station. Others are less kind, but then their particular brand of crunchy IDM and leftfield electronica is undoubtedly an acquired taste. Exai, their 11th album, stretches out over 17 tracks. As ever, it packs in a lot of ideas, a swathe of mentalist rhythms and a boatload of curious noises. At times it's strangely calming, at others like being smashed round the chops with a metal bar. Those who enjoy their work - and we certainly do - will find much to enjoy amongst Exai's sprawling, feature-length presentation.
Review: The latest instalment of Crosstown Rebels' long-running Get Lost series comes from odd German deep house/tech house fusionist Acid Pauli, a man who looks more like a hairy Open University geology lecturer than a top-flight DJ. Reflecting Pauli's own style, the compilation's 41 unmixed tracks touch on shuffling, eyes-closed deepness, tactile techno, dream house and tongue-in-cheek silliness (the brilliant space-pop of "In My Spaceship" by Jan Turkenburg. More impressively, there are a string of previously unseen exclusives, including excellent tracks from Nicolas Jaar, Nu and Acid Pauli himself.
Review: Joe Mount of lovable scuzz pop outfit Metronomy mans the latest volume in the long running Late Night Tales, a series who always seem to get the best results out of an unexpected cast of participants (Belle & Sebastien, MGMT, Trentemoeller and Midlake being recent inductees) It's hard not to get sucked in from the sugar sweet opening of Outkast's "Prototype", which is the first of several tracks that demonstrates Mount has a penchant for slow bumping R n B and outsider hiphop with Tweet, Sa Ra and a Dr Octagon classic also appearing. A typically far reaching approach to genres applies here with the cosmic jazz of Chic Corea happily mingling with Autechre and Two Lone Swordsmen and American synth oddities Geneva Jacuzzi and Appaloosa mingling for attention with The Alan Parsons Project and Herman Dune. The de-rigueur cover version arrives with a Metronomy rendition of Jean-Michel Jarre's"Hypnose" whilst Paul Morley ends the selection with a spoken word piece.