Review: Wales raised but now Berlin dwelling artist Dauwd has been releasing music for nearly six years on such credible labels as Ghostly International and Kompakt. His debut album Theory of Colours is released via Ninja Tune imprint Technicolour. There's some evocative deep house on offer here. For example "Glass Jelly" in all its dusted down, analogue glory, while the darkly romantic "Leitmotiv" gets its lazy and jagged groove on in woozy yet emotive fashion. An integral member of the Berlin night and radio show African Acid Is The Future, Dauwd Al Hilali's releases have been met with as much expectation as they have intrigue. Spending the last few years out of the limelight and in his Berlin studio, his music has continued to ripple through clubs as his singular, sometimes thrillingly uncertain process of experimentation has continued.
Review: Having dropped releases for the likes of Pictures Music and Ghostly International, it's no surprise to find Dauwd sidling up to Kompakt with his warm and fuzzy minimal styles. His offering is a solid two-track affair, with the title track dealing in mournful warbles of synth and rounded bass for the most contemplative of moments in a calmer part of the night. "Moiety" is equally thoughtful, working with the same kind of intensity albeit in a different key that lends another kind of emotional impact. It's an effect that fits in perfectly on Kompakt, which tells you all you need to know about the quality of this release.
Review: Given that UK producer Dauwd made his name on the Pictures Music label, it's no surprise to see him graduating to Cologne institution Kompakt, after all both labels have shown an emphasis on melody and emotion in their respective discographies. Dauwd's arrival on Kompakt with Kindlinn comes after an initial appearance last year, remixing COMA's "My Orbit" and the three tracks suggest we really should be demanding more music from the producer! Sumptuous, playful and romantic are a few words that immediately spring to mind as lead track "Lydia" unfurls; the little flourishes of synths as the track draws towards it's close are particularly memorable. The title track shows off a tougher side to Dauwd in terms of groove, though the plangent textures remain intact, whilst "Rain Raker" largely forsakes beats in favour of compositional drama.
Review: Dauwd caused a bit of a stir earlier this year with a free digital EP released through Pictures Music, and now he gets his first release proper with What's There. The title track is characterised by its melodic approach to bass music, with elastic synths and water droplet sonics accented with minimal, clicky percussion. It's a deceptive track which unfolds itself gradually, hitting you between the eyes with its emotional climax. The other tracks don't disappoint either, with "Acireams" utilising a straighter 4/4 beat with a palette of warm synth textures and clipped samples. Perhaps the real gem is "Ikopol", with its golden tones and bright bell percussion in combination with its rich bass and house untertones is perhaps exactly what you'd imagine a collaboration between Four Tet and Martyn to sound like. An incredible debut from what looks set to be one to watch in 2012.
Review: Kompakt's annual label sampler returns for a 15th year, gathering together another 24 highlights from the long running Cologne imprint's ever growing back catalogue. As usual, there are numerous styles represented - from the spiraling dancefloor synth-pop of Kolsch and punk-influenced techno of Audion, to the soft focus melodies and hypnotic beats of Gui Boratto, and the intoxicating global electronics of Jurgen Paap - as well as much-played tracks from some of the imprint's most notable talents (see the contributions from Rex The Dog, Superpitcher, Matias Aguayo and John Tejada, whose "Two O One" is a tuneful techno delight).
Review: Kompakt's Total compilation series - an annual round up of gems from the imprint's tightly packed release schedule - must be one of the longest-running in dance music. Amazingly, this latest installment is the 14th volume in the series. For those who enjoy Kompakt's generally positive approach to electronic music - think tactile techno, ambient pop and skewed, synth-laden house from the likes of Michael Mayer, Thomas Fehlmann, Partial Arts and Gui Boratto - there's much to admire, including a slew of previously unreleased cuts. These include Superpitcher's "Delta", a sublime chunk of hypnotic e-tronica that's almost too melodic for its own good. Arguably even better is Weval's live recording of "Something", which is near perfect in its wide-eyed pop simplicity.