With his preferred tools of a 707 and a Nord Modular, Benjamin Brunn is unquestionably devoted to the out-of-the-box approach, but fortunately for him it has been many a year his fluid and exploratory sound has emanated from Hamburg, the place he calls home. As such, an album such as A Sun Life gives new light to the possible places you can go with such tried and tested sounds as these. Expect brave forays into the unknown as the album progresses past lively and colorful techno into such beatless dubby space as exhibited by "Pankhom Memories" with its pneumatic bass hits and gently building percussive harmonies, moving through distinguished key changes and dynamics that require the most wisened of touches. "ISS" is similarly bold in an entirely different way, oozing refinement as a single synth fills the dynamic range with an engrossing melodic progression. If there was any proof needed that Brunn's employment of old-skool hardware is rooted in something deeper than hype, it would be in the quality of production on the whole album. There's never a moment of distortion or fashionable scuffing, instead aiming for quite a pristine end result (albeit more attractive than a similar end pursued without the benefit of analogue gear). It's quite refreshing to hear a distinct lack of tape hiss behind the gorgeous swathes of synthesiser and machine beats, whether they intone a dancefloor message or extol an experimental virtue.
British imprint Third Ear drop this ace EP of "re-imagined" classics from the label's back catalogue. The headline track here is Rabih Beaini's Upperground Orchestra remix of Theo Parrish's "Falling Up" - the cosmic jazz outfit have remade the classic from the ground up, recording a new version live in Italy earlier this summer. "Falling Up" of course has already been on the receiving end of one of the most revered remixes of the past decade from Carl Craig and is quite the dusty, quantize shy delight in original form too. The Orchestra's contribution to Third Ear Re-Imagined follows the recent release of The Eupen Takes, a six track live album released on Beaini's own Morphine Records. The producers involved in this project were given the opportunity to select their favourite tracks from the Third Ear catalogue to remix; Red Rack'em chose one of his all time favourites in Ibex's 2008 beatdown cut "Spiritual War", while XBD has taken on Benjamin Brunn's kick drum shy "No Kicks". Dummy and left_blank producer Lorca - who remixed Recast's "Consensual" for Third Ear in 2011 - decided to remix Pirahnahead's underrated "Self Conscience". Class all round.