Review: Alchemy is the first record that Midland has released on his own imprint in three years, but it was worth the wait. It begins with the title track's live drums and out-there electronic squiggles that move up and down the intensity spectrum. On "Frequency FM", there are similarly rickety drums, shot through with rolling backbeats and mournful sounding electronic melodies that recall early Autechre work. "Play It As It Lays" continues the trend of contemporary producers drawing on hardcore influences, with whooping vocals unravelling over a teased out drum track. Last but not least is "Tortuga", a more atmospheric affair that stays away from the dance floor.
Review: JD Twitch's Autonomous Africa series is something of a rarity. Each annual EP, which features modern electronic music influenced by African rhythms, sounds and styles, is used to raise money for a different African charity. Proceeds from this third in the series are destined for Tanzania's Mtandika Mission, a charity run by Midland's parents. It seems fitting, then, that he kicks things off with "Safi", a heavyweight slice of future voodoo that expertly blends analogue electronics and bombastic African rhythms. General Ludd go deep, psychedelic and off-kilter with their brilliant "Burning Mack", while Auntie Flo delivers a stripped-back vocal cut with echoes of his recent material on Permanent Vacation. Finally, Twitch steps up to deliver "Maya", which sounds like LFO's "LFO" re-made by African musicians.
Review: The excellent Autonomous Africa series returns for a second release sporting cuts from label founder JD Twitch and the like minded Auntie Flo and Midland. Launched last year, the series intends to highlight the problems that outside interference from other countries has on African countries and their people with all the proceeds from each EP donated to a different charity in Africa. The inaugural EP raised funds for Medecins Sans Frontieres operations in Africa, while this year's EP will raise funds for the Mtandika Mission in Tanzania. Midland offers some of his best work to date with the thumping, scratchy 4/4 of original production "Checkbob" which is matched by JD Twitch's "Olaiya" which adds a devilish sub bassline to the jittery JBs style funk of the uncredited source. Elsewhere, Auntie Flo is in more contemplative mood with "Water Of Life" whilst Twitch's second edit "Juju" is a percussive delight.
FABRICLIVE 94: Midland (continuous DJ mix) - (1:14:40) 126 BPM
Review: For Midland, selecting and mixing the latest Fabric Live is a dream come true. By his own admission, the UK DJ was obsessed with the series, even going as far as designing his own posters to accompany the mixes back in the day. Now that he has been given the platform to finally mix an instalment himself, he doesn't disappoint; Fabric Live 94 sees him move skilfully from Even Tuell and Juju & Jordash's left of centre house - the pair are on fine form with the jazzed out "Monday Mellow" - into timeless 90s techno from Carl Craig (as Tres Demented); LFO and Santos Rodriguez, before heading into Convextion's signature deep sounds and Japanese producer Shinichi Atobe's wonderful abstractions. Many years in the making, Fabric Live 94 doesn't disappoint.
Review: !K7 Records launches a new compilation series entitled Kollections: Club which inaugurates the project. The tracklist features artists of the partner labels under the !K7 umbrella such as Turbo, AUS Music, Mobilee, Mister Saturday Night and Hypercolour. Each edition explores a different musical theme but this first installment, naturally, is all about the club! Highlights here include Midland's recent hit "Blush", Maya Jane Coles' funky afterhours tech house jam "Not Listening" (from a few years ago), KiNK's roaring remix of Kerrier District's (Luke Vibert) "Techno Disco" and Lauer's recent feelgood number "Killian" showing off his knack for classic retro vibes like no other.
Review: The latest Glitterbox compilation is something of an epic, featuring two all action DJ mixes from bossman Simon Dunmore, and 40-odd unmixed, DJ-friendly tracks. Naturally, the emphasis is on celebratory, feel-good workouts, with Dunmore's superb selections taking in classic disco and boogie (Change, Shirley Lites, the Originals), contemporary disco-fired workouts (Purple Disco Machine, BB Boogie's soul-fired "Sweating and Shaking"), cheery disco-house anthems (95 North, Reverendos of Soul) and all-out peak-time house gems (see the contributions from Eli Escobar, KiNK and Dj Chus and the Groove Foundation). Highlights are plentiful throughout, though it's hard to beat Louie Vega's 12-minute rework of Sylvester disco classic "Dance".