Review: Six years after the release of their first inspirational Late Night Tales mix, fey Scottish post-indie miserablists Belle & Sebastian unveil a second volume. Given the unusual and exciting nature of their first collection, hopes are naturally high for Volume 2. Thankfully, it's every bit as odd, enjoyable and enlightening as the first edition. Psychedelic folk-pop, Indian soul, Balkan beats, Spanish crooners, Chanson ballads, film soundtrack compositions, Gold Panda, The Lovin' Spoonful, dancehall, The Pop Group and Pete Shelley all feature, alongside a range of thrillingly strange records that defy easy categorization. As a collection of music, it's breathtakingly brilliant, while the accompanying DJ mix is wonderful.
Review: There's no sign of "difficult second album syndrome" to be found on All That Must Be, George Fitzgerald's follow-up to 2015 debut full-length Fading Love. In fact, you could say it's something of a triumph. It was written over an 18-month period and tracks the highs and lows of his private life, largely by eschewing his club-rocking roots in favour of songs and instrumentals that bristle with melancholy, gentle melodiousness and ear-catching electronic instrumentation. Of course, it's still rooted in contemporary club sounds, its just more James Blake or Jamie XX than, say, old pal Will Saul or Special Request. Notably, it's the more poignant songs, including fine collaborations with Lil Silva and Tracey Thorn, which linger longest in the memory.
Review: With Dutch producer Tracy's gradual rise into the ranks of well received dance music, Tom Ruijg, aka Tracey, sees himself become part of Aus Music's current vanguard alongside Floorplan, Move D and of course Aus label owner himself Will Saul. Microdancer presents the artist's second offering for Aus Music and is the first since his debut album, Biostar, for Dial in 2019. This record here presents a bass heavy, atmospheric take on melodic breaks, club tracks and cosmic techno. "Lanthana" will appeal to the b-side junkies out there for something a little more syncopated and undulating, while the title track throws down a heavier, enforced rhythm punctuated by solid bass stabs and a frenetic arpeggio melody. Lighter wares can be found in "Ubik" with the tunneling "Gretzoid" getting trippy with vocals from Gretz.
Review: Tracey aka Tom Ruijg has invited some of Europe's finest house and techno producers to rework tracks from his recent Biostar album. First up is Steve Rachmad, who delivers a lean, insistent techno take on "SLPNGVLCN" and then moonlights under his Sterac Electronics guise for a deep electro version of "CCLRT" . Darling offers up a very different proposition, turning "DRMRBT" into a drum-heavy house track. Moving the same track into a more esoteric direction is Jordan GZR from Juju & Jordash with a reverberated, dubbed out interpretation, before label owner Lawrence drops a stripped back, dubbed out remix of "TRR".
Review: The Amsterdam-based artist Tracey AKA Tom Ruijg has released on Aus Music, Intergraded and Voyage Direct. His next one comes courtesy of Hamburg's Dial Records and is his debut full length. The music throughout Biostar focuses on raw machine textures and memorable melodies, yet retains the unmistakeable aesthetic of Lawrence and Carsten Jost's imprint: seductive, emotive and utterly majestic throughout. Features dusty electro derivatives as explored on previous EPs on tracks like "TRR" or "WNTDMND", moments of otherworldly ambient on "SLPNGVLCN" through to deep modular techno exploits as experienced on "CLLMMM".
Review: Having impressed with his previous Tracey EP on Voyage Direct - the sparkling, Detroit-influenced Skyfall - Tom Ruijg returns to action with an arguably even stronger four-tracker. Title track "Testarossa" is typically spacey, with Ruijg wrapping intergalactic electronics and lilting synthesizer melodies around a darting synthesizer bassline and swinging, electro-influenced house drums, while "Sidekick" doffs a cap to the new age-influenced style of Young Marco. On the flip he expertly combines elements of Chicago jack and NYC house on "Made My Love", before rounding things off with wild and windy electro workout "Interceptor". Throughout, Ruijg's colourful synths and dusty old drum machines take centre stage
Review: Tracey is the new artistic alias of Tom Ruijg, an Amsterdam scene veteran who has previously released on Bangbang, Karat, Hot Waves and Soweso. On this first Voyage Direct outing, he displays a keen knowledge of vintage synthesizers and drum computers. The title track is particularly potent, and features a blend of melodious, Young Marco style new age melodies, ambient techno chords, and distorted, club-ready drums. The EP's other original production, "Earthrise", shuffles further towards Euro-techno/Motor City futurist fusion. On the virtual flipside, Tape Records co-founder Deniro delivers two tasty remixes: a rough and ready, acid-fired 'Mental Mix', and the driving but melodious "Ouda Mix", where Ruijg's new age synths are underpinned by restless drum machine fills and fizzing cymbals.
Review: The third and final part in Dial's compilation series brings together some well-known names and emerging producers. Tracey opens up the release with the dreamy, downtempo "Chapter 1", while on "Cuba", Lerosa delivers a fine, stripped back percussive track, underpinned by a throbbing bass. Anton Kubikov's "Night Road Blue" delivers the kind of mysterious, expansive techno that the label is best known for - with the added bonus of a rubbery double bass - and in contrast, Siamak Amidi brings the compilation down a weirder route with the woozy soundscapes and ticking percussion of "Kandoo", while DJ Jus-Ed impresses as always with the lithe claps and murky bass of "Synth Sex".
Fader From Borneo - "Sound Fondue" - (4:31) 129 BPM
Kurt Baggaley - "Detect" - (4:37) 122 BPM
Love Over Entropy - "Off The Grid" (Versalife remix) - (6:48) 120 BPM
Quince - "Stop" - (3:26) 124 BPM
Review: Nuno Dos Santos enjoys referring to the tracks he releases on Something Happening Somewhere as "stories". Thus, NOWHERE01 - the first volume in a new compilation series - is billed as being full of "shards of tales long forgotten". In reality, it's a fine set of previously unreleased tracks and remixes, though Dos Santos's description is much more poetic. While the quality threshold remains impressively high throughout, highlights include Fatama Yamaha's dreamy and lucid, deep house-meets-Balearic synth-pop tweak of Kiani and His Legion's "Electric", the sleazy and percussive techno-jack of Tracey's "Stratosfear", the jazzy deep house dreaminess of Love Over Entropy's "H1" and the deep space electro brilliance of Versalife's interpretation of the same artist's "Off The Grid".