Review: Simona Calvini is one of Italy's best-known DJs and on Blind, proves that she's fast becoming one of that country's most promising producers. Eschewing straight, linear grooves, this release is based on off-kilter rhythms and stripped back arrangements. On the title track, Calvini uses this approach as a basis for deep chord washes, whispered vocals and hypnotic bleeps. The mood is far less serene on "Look Deep", where murderous bass drops and eerie noises prevail and on "Toy Boy", where a tearing low end is combined with steely electro drums and a stepping rhythm to create a sound that alternates between icy and menacing. But Calvini is most impressive when exploring pure rhythms and the rolling, dubbed out "Awake" is the release's highlight.
Ellen Allien - "The Kiss" (Jesse Perez remix) - (6:59) 120 BPM
Mr Statik - "Irresistible" - (6:29) 119 BPM
DJ Red - "Eyes Are Blind" - (7:23) 127 BPM
Douglas Greed - "This Time" (feat Kuss - RAW mix) - (6:50) 120 BPM
Snuff Crew - "Bass!" - (5:45) 124 BPM
Viadrina - "Lost Soul" - (7:04) 124 BPM
Camea - "Black Sparrow" - (7:56) 123 BPM
Silvie Loto - "Solstice" - (7:24) 120 BPM
Safety Scissors - "My Best Ideas" - (5:40) 120 BPM
Review: Listening to this compilation, it's clear that 2013 was a banner year for Ellen Allien's label. No longer so focused on stripped back techno - although the hissing noise and dark bass tones of Camea's "Black Sparrow" provide some connection to Bpitch's back catalogue - Best Of focuses on the area where pop and electronic music meet. The tumbling drums and plaintive vocals on Eating Snow's "Siamese Twins By Choice" could be early period Sting (that's a compliment by the way), while Dillon's "This Silence Kills" is a beautifully fragile serving of ethereal electronic pop. Bpitch can still rock the house when required, as the nasty acid of Snuff Crew's "Bass" demonstrates, but the real highlights of Best of 2013 are the label's leftfield excursions.