Review: Any time that DJ Harvey gives us a sneak peek into the current contents of his record bag - sorry, USB stick - is a cause for celebration. As you can imagine, we're cock-a-hoop that he's decided to deliver a follow-up to his superb 2017 compilation "The Sound of Mercury Rising". As with its predecessor, volume two offers a giddy skip through chiming, synth-heavy original Balearic classics (Mandy Smith, Hugh Mane), weirdo European disco (Marta Acuna), evocative electronic soundscapes (System Olympia), blue-eyed synth-pop (Pamela Nivens), drum machine-powered Middle Eastern madness (Switchdance's sublime "Arabian Ride")and a swathe of tasty contemporary cuts (the jaunty jazz-funk of Midlife, Das Komplex's ace "Slap", Nu Guinea's splendid "Je Vulesse" and Peaking Lights remix of Land of Light being the highlights).
Review: Romanian indie dance duo Khidja return to Israeli imprint Malka Tuti for their second release, after great releases of late on DFA, Hivern Discs and Ransom Note. Their new thriller "Plot" is a bold and seductive new dance fantasy, interpreting EBM aesthetics in their own distinct way. This is followed up by the raw and rusty synth-pop of "Am I Really Here" which will appeal to all the retroverts out there and features one truly roaring guitar riff if we've ever heard one. Malka Tuti is a new record label founded by Asaf Samuel and Katzele - two of the founders of the Tel-Avivian 84%Creativity collective.
Review: Roving Romanians Khidja take us on a trip of a lifetime with "Impossible Holiday"... We take off with the stately, cavernous and slightly fuzzy "Die Wilde Spirale" and land in our improbable destination to the spiked out synth washes and dubby bass palpitations of "Pinnacles". We enjoy all sorts of unperceivable activities to the bouncy, analogue bed and fluttering, head-soothing arpeggios of "Haetrin" then fly home to our comparably dismal existences on the droning, groaning and ever-morphing "Kraftfield". Happy travels.
Review: Stuart Leath flexes his contacts book with an all-star cast of producers and respected scalpel artists called on to rework cuts from the recent Never Seen The Dunes EP by Khidja. Any 12" featuring the collective talents of Discodromo, In Flagranti, Red Axes and Selvy on mixing desk duties should get you excited and this crew bring the disco heat. "Never Seen The Dunes" is given the Discodromo treatment, adding pulsating bass, driving arpeggio, all while allowing the bump of the original to keeping pushing things on. This is followed by In Flagranti's inspired 'Autobahn' retake of the deeper vibes of "Aura" which is apparently a huge favourite of the label. A matured cruiser that keeps the swing, it all leads to those strings and Eastern flavours gliding over for the perfect finale. Things head darker on the reverse, with Tel Aviv's shinning stars Red Axes, manning the controls for the scatter bounce of "Indecis" for the stand out remix. Twisted vocals, brooding FX and reversed guitar all atop a mesmeric kick, things just keeps going higher and higher. Finally "The Quiet Before The Red Stop" is tweaked by Selvy of The Very Polish Cut Outs and Transatlantyk fame, adding some club bump to Khidja's Balearic original.
Review: Having previously delivered the brilliant "Mustafa" - a Middle Eastern-tinged chugger with flashes of acid - Khidja return to Emotional Especial with a four-track assault. Title track "Never Seen The Dunes" is a similarly mystical chugger, with intoxicated, stretched-out guitar lines and psychedelic chords riding a post-punk influenced cosmic disco groove. There's more punk funk influenced bass to be found on the decidedly dubby - but no less trippy - "Aura", whilst there's a decidedly Turkish flavour to the spiraling synthesizers and intelligent techno-inspired acid lines of "Indecis". Finally, the duo strays into deeper territory with the chiming melodies, foreboding guitars and after-party rhythms of "The Quiet Before Red Stop".
Review: Emotional Especial return with a release from Romanian duo Khidja that comes packing some excellent remixes from senor Fairplay and Juju & Jordash! Brought to the attention of EE thanks to Hardway Brother Sean Johnston, who returned from a Bucharest DJ gig singing the praises of two young DJs, Khidja's productions are as impressive as their selections on the evidence here. "Mustafa" is more immediate with shuffle percussion, swirling sirens and acid bubbles leading to a perfect horn break. In the hands of Mr Fairplay, the track takes on anthemic qualities; the stabbing bass and build have allegedly seen howls of appreciation when it's dropped at A Love From Outer Space. "Abdul" finds Khidja in a more calming mood reminiscent of Art of Noise, though the kick and bass ensure there is plenty of rhythmic emphasis, whilst the Juju & Jordash remix edges towards a Balearic digidub vibe.
Review: Stuart "Chuggy" Leath continues to churn out the releases on his must-check Emotional Especial label. His latest missive features previously unheard reworks of material featured on the imprint's last nine releases, and predictably there's much to enjoy. Fast-rising production duo Khidja is undoubtedly the star of the show. As well as serving up an extended version of their ultra-deep, oh-so atmospheric "Looki", they also turn Unknown Cases' classic "Masimbele" into a druggy, percussive chugger full of tribal chants, throbbing analogue bass and cut-up guitar riffs. Elsewhere, Cage & Aviary turn their own "Imagination" into a loved-up epic, and Alphonse's rave-inspired "Same For Me" is re-imagined as a psychedelic, dubbed-out masterpiece.
Review: Having impressed with the first collection of re-edits earlier in 2012, the Legendary 1979 Orchestra gather together more floor-friendly reworks from friends and associates on their own Legendary Sound Research imprint. With different tempos, sounds and styles at play, it's a well-rounded collection. Contrast, for example, the tough 80s-electro-goes house vibes of Legendary 1979 Orchestra's "Burning" and the slow, soulful bump of 78 Edits' "Can't Have My Love". Or, for that matter, the breezy party vibes of Andrei's "Let's Go Raw" and the heavy funk of Richmed's "Do Your Thang". There's also some more 80s disco tweakery from Spanish edit workhorse Rayko.