Review: First emerging on his own Little Strong label back in 2011, the producer known only as Lord Of The Isles has proved pleasantly hard to pin down on his output thus far. His releases for the likes of Cocktail D'Amour, Ene, Shevchenko, and Firecracker have often broached many different styles within the space of a twelve inch but have been bound by a sumptuous production finish, a luxuriant sheen that ensures you recognise the material as the work of Lord Of The Isles. This five track 301C Symphony EP for Munich's Permanent Vacation is undoubtedly the Scottish producer's most high profile release to date and sees no concession in style or approach. The final final beatless, string heavy "Western Electric" is a wonderful finale to perhaps his best work yet!
Review: After stellar contributions to the series from Bakey USTL and Vakula, Unthank swings back into action with a release from a producer much closer to their Edinburgh home, Lord Of The Isles. This Scottish producer has already graced some fine imprints such as Tusk Wax, Ene and American Standard with his music, while perhaps reserving the best so far to the excellent Hot Blobs EP released on his own Little Strong label. His contribution to the still fledgling Unthank canon improves on that release however, arriving in typically attractive cover art and described as "a journey of whiskey, analogue electronics, Scottish landscapes, nostalgia and underground parties". Musically the five tracks peak and dip between the differing emotions inherent in house music and sound as good as anything Firecracker have released to date.
Review: Since surfacing with prime fromage-free edit material for Cole Medina's American Standard label, Scottish producer Lord Of The Isles has graduated to fully fledged original productions with some great releases on quality imprints like Cocktail D'Amour, Ene and the lesser spotted Unthank label. A freshly announced debut on Shevchenko adds to his growing cache, as does Year Of The City, this excellent four track induction on the newly relaunched Phonica label. A hallmark of any release from Lord Of The Isles is a nice balance of styles and this EP is no different. The title track sets the tone, as the producer invites us on a journey into the dark heavily arpeggiated future, one driven by some brilliantly loose rhythms. Following this, "FS01" eschews the need for drums, instead implementing all manner of atmospheric drama via some brilliant synth play, while "Forkx" is a full on Motor City Soul epic. "Lost Empire" is an ambient outro whose brief duration has you begging for more.
Review: Following the release of his acclaimed debut album, In Waves, on ESP Institute, Lord of the Isles man Neil McDonald returns home to Firecracker Recordings. With six tracks to choose from, Parabolas of Neon is almost a mini-album. It boasts a quartet of sublime, mind-soothing ambient cuts, topped and tailed by two more rhythmic moments. Opener "Sunrise 89", a shameless dose of nostalgia built around heavy, bleep techno style sub bass and electronic motifs, offers a perfect balance between dancefloor heaviness and dreamy, saucer-eyed intent. Then there's the small matter of the title track, which is the kind of ultra-deep, ultra-dreamy chugger that you just want to hug at six in the morning.
Review: Following his prime edit material for Cole Medina's American Standard label, Scottish producer Lord Of The Isles has seen original productions land on the likes of Cocktail d'Amore, Ene, and his own Little Strong as well as gracing the Phonica Special Edition Series. Now he arrives on Firecracker's Shevchenko edition for the label's seventh release, with three tracks representing the many shades and hues of his production palette. "Elgol" sees the producer venture into similarly impressionistic house territory as Legowelt, with nebulous organ chords joined by loosely jacking drums and gentle acid textures. On the flip, "Galicia" delivers a deep jam with all the same free-flowing analogue tendrils and luscious bass, while "Timber Lorries Emerging" combines a bassline with a John Carpenter-inspired tension with neo-Balearic soul, a combination that works a lot better in practice than you'd expect. As with all Shevchecnko releases clear vinyl and exceptional music is the order of the day - highly recommended.
Review: Given that Neil McDonald aka Lord of the Isles has released on notable labels like Firecracker - and its offshoots - as well as Phonica, Mule and Permanent Vacation, it was only a matter of time before ESP Institute tapped him for a release. That said, McDonald does not follow a typical deep house trajectory here. Indeed, the title track, in its extended version, is a distorted jacking affair, shot through with dark waves of acid. While Ian Blevins' version offers a pulsing, less visceral alternative take on "Weh-In", overall this release is jittery and hyperactive, as the abstract twists and growling bass of closing track "Pik" demonstrates.
Review: In Waves is the debut album from Lord of the Isles aka Scottish producer Neil McDonald. As expansive as a boat ride through a rain-swept Highlands loch, it starts with the wispy, ethereal ambience of "Airgoid Meall" and "Years Away". The playful, stop-start rhythm of "Liobasta" provides a kooky interlude to the generally deep mood, before "Obar Liobhaite" plunges back in with floaty, serene ambience. That reflective sensibility is again temporarily pierced by the acrid, spiky rhythm of recent single "Weh-In", but in the main, this is a reflective work, best characterised by the neo-classical piano composition, "Gualainn".
Review: UK artist Lord Of The Isles aka Neil McDonald joins the Lone Romantic crew in what is an unexpected turn for both him and the imprint; thus far, the Barcelona-based label has focused on dark and dreary sounds from the likes of Carl Finlow aka Vatican Shadow. LOTI comes through with a more mechanical approach compared to his usual blend of house flavours, with "Irafas" and "Alpha" both wrapped in a cold, industrial electro glaze - the latter being the dreamier of the two. "Q-bit" enters a darker realm, full of dubby nuances and a stripped-back beat structure, whereas "Three Times Eleven" scraps the kick drums in favour of rhythmic synth soundscapes. Brilliant stuff.
Review: By his usual standards, 2015 has been a very quiet year for Lord of the Isles. Remarkably, this outing on Permanent Vacation - his second for the Munich-based imprint - marks his first solo release for 22 months. Predictably, he's in fine form, once again offering up the kind of evocative, melodious, picturesque fare that sits somewhere between classic Detroit futurism, Balearic deep house, and the classier end of nu-disco. Title track "Clearness of Love" is particularly warm and beguiling, with deep space electronics, eyes-closed melodies and dreamy pads riding a crunchy, analogue-sounding groove. The comforting melodiousness continues on "Bodyswerve" and "All I Need", the latter offering all the hazy beauty of an autumnal Highland sunset.
Review: Given that original vinyl copies are increasingly hard to come by, it's great to see Lord of the Isles' Hot Blobs EP - one of Neil McDonald's earliest outings, from back in 2011 - finally get a digital release. While recent outings have seen him indulging his love for Highlands-inspired ambience, Hot Blobs sees him in full-on club mode. The ten-minute title track sets the tone, delivering a typically tactile blend of Detroit techno electronics, dreamy pads, heady vocal samples and a killer, nu-disco inclined groove. McDonald proves his deep house credentials on "Tell Your Soul" - a luscious combination of Larry Heard chords, eyes-closed melodies and single-malt strength grooves - while "This Way" is an aquatic disco-funk-meets-deep house chugger that was supposedly designed for the warm-up at Sub-Club. That might be hearsay, but it's certainly a bit of an early doors killer.
Review: Acclaimed producer Lord Of The Isles has given his Little Strong Recordings label a dust down in order to release to the world this new four-tracker. Equally fragile and solid, his production betrays a real finesse, here there's a pattern too with two short interludes (the dreamy reversed loops of "Fey Folk" and the beatless bleep-a-thon "Xatsiv") and two longer, sprawling even, slices of rich electronica - the intricate and soothing four to the floor gem "Ossian's Wall" and the ethereal chimes of "Nustron" a highlight.
Review: It's been almost two years since we last spotted LOTI on Phonica. Since then he's made some awesome documents on the likes of Permanent Vacation, Firecracker and Catune, constantly whittling his sharp, timeless techno stick with the perfect amount of subtle drama. "Greane" leads the charge with a majestic 10 minute production; lolloping with equal amounts of comic soul and techno attitude, he conjures a powerful sense of atmosphere before dropping into a moment of guitar-shimmered bliss (in a way that's not too far from his fellow countrymen Silicone Soul) Meanwhile on "Gigha" we're treated to a softer palette of sounds as a tubular riff slowly evolves into a string-drenched serenade. As the original riff morphs into a sinewy acid lick, the strings take hold with classical theatrics. Drop at the right time and there won't be a dry eye in the house.
Review: Bobby Pleasure's Needs label continues to gather steam behind a message of togetherness, raising money for worth causes and trying to help those less fortunate in society. On this third instalment Lord Of The Isles leads the way with a typically romantic swoon of analogue bass and gorgeous 80s synth strings, while Mehmet Aslan lays down an earthly prowler powered by organic instrumentation. "Trust The Mountain" introduces Petwo Evans with a daring strain of broken electronica heavy on the crackling signal processing. Bartellow's "1001 (Skrillex Theme)" is a craft machine disco workout, and then Nick Gynn takes things tropical with the exotic tones and bold drum machine hits of "Jumanji".
Lord Of The Isles - "NG 9098 2006" - (4:34) 74 BPM
Wounded Knee - "3rd Pass" - (4:05) 58 BPM
Wounded Knee - "Invocation" - (4:01) 84 BPM
Wounded Knee - "Thrum" - (2:07) 79 BPM
Lord Of The Isles - "NO 6594 9300" - (2:29) 120 BPM
Other Lands - "Grugaigian Chant" - (10:23) 104 BPM
Wounded Knee - "Five Sisters" - (3:05) 76 BPM
Lord Of The Isles - "NG 8668 2508" - (2:11) 126 BPM
Wounded Knee - "Grugaig Perc" - (0:43) 102 BPM
Other Lands - "Caisteal Grugaig" - (18:58) 80 BPM
Review: Firecracker Recordings continue its wonderful music collection with Mac Talla Nan Creag the end result of several artists affiliated with the Edinburgh label spending some time in the Scottish highlands recording with traditional instruments, hardware and no small amount of Whisky! Lord Of The Isles, Other Lands, House Of Traps and local Edinburgh folk artist Wounded Knee are involved in one form or other throughout this illuminating 15 track collection. "NM 8222 0270" and 'NO 6594 9300' are lush ambient works reminiscent of Pete Namlook, whilst "Thrun' is droney feedback in the same vein as Rrose's recent LP for Further. "Forever played" and "Grugaigian Chant" are the perfect culmination of folk and electronics that this album can offer. All in all brilliant compilation that pays homage to the country's traditional music yet presenting in a modern electronic format. Highly recommended!
Review: The Munich based deep house and nu disco institution returns for their fourth safari and it is quite the trip if we do say so ourselves. The landscapes.. the wildlife.. be prepared for an epic journey! Highlights on here include the gutsy analogue punk of Drvg Cvulture's "Night Time Is The Right Time", prog house don Henry Saiz teaming up with sometime John Talabot cohort Pional on the dreamy "Uruboros" and Sweden's always reliable Axel Boman with the dreamily hypnotic "Die Die Die!" which despite its title is summery and lush: a potential anthem of Summer 2017. Hidden treasures, lost classics and exclusive tracks through the deepest house valleys and the highest disco mountains of the label's catalog.
Review: Munich's Permanent Vacation churns out releases at a rapid rate, making it annoyingly easy to miss out on great material. Lucky, their sporadic Selected Label Works compilation series can help fill in the gaps. Volume Five contains a wealth of tasty treats, from the wonky late night throb of Dolkraut's mesmerizing "Fire", and progressive house influenced dancefloor bliss of TB's "City Girl", to the Orbital style intelligent techno of Daniel Bortz and Sacha Sibler, via the bass-heavy wonkiness of Lake People. There's also another chance to savour Session Victim's loose, warm and groovy rework of Midnight Magic, and a tops-off-friendly chunk of Sound Factory era pump from Tuff City Kids.
Review: The Sub Club has played such an important role in the development of UK electronic music that it is surprising it took it so long to have a label arm. Still, Nautilus Rising is testament to being better late than never, and this inaugural release, an all-Scottish affair, covers the kind of soulful house and techno that the 'Subbie' has been long associated with. Alex Smoke's "Straits" revolves around loose tribal drums and ponderous synths, before veering off into an acid-heavy segue. Lord of the Isle's contribution follows a similar trajectory, albeit with a tapestry of brooding bass and synths underscoring the arrangement. Stephen Lopkin represents the new breed of Scottish producer and his "Farewell G41" is all crashing snares and 606 drums. Vince Watson, one of the artists who has been active since the club's inception, rounds out this excellent release with "Subculture Story", a spacey, string-laden affair, atmospheric and melodic, but underpinned by a strong kick.