Reviewed this week
Following two fine teaser singles on Malka Tuti, Tapan (AKA Belgrade-based producers Nebosja Bogdanovic and Goran Simonosk) are finally ready to unleash their debut album, Europa. A genuinely unique proposition, the set sees them flit between mind-altering Middle Eastern dub-jazz (the trippy title track), delay-laden late night soundscapes (the brilliant "In My Heart"), woozy post-punk dystopia ("Bogovi"), percussion-rich, horn-heavy weirdness ("Trouble") and the kind of dubwise, other-worldly fare that we'd once have expected to hear from early '80s Bristolian bands such as Maximum Joy. It's naturally hugely atmospheric, but more impressive than that is the duo's imaginative approach. While the influences are easy to spot, describing the results is pleasingly tricky.
Those who dig around Bandcamp for inspiration may have come across Islandman, a Turkish producer and multi-instrumentalist dedicated to jaunty Balearic fusions of summery styles and sounds. Rest In Space marks his first release for an established label - Kenneth Bager's fine Music For Dreams imprint - and offers the perfect introduction to his seductive sonic world. The ten instrumental cuts included are colourful and attractive, with the Istanbul native wrapping jazzy guitar solos, whistling synthesizer melodies and Persian melodies around a variety of gentle, sun-soaked grooves. There are occasional nods towards drowsy new age ambience, dub and Pat Metheny style jazz-funk fusion, but for the most part it's a sparkling and humid affair.
Weirdest Dream is a new project from Stockholm-based Daniel Fagerstrom and Luciano Leiva, experienced producers who have previously starred - individually, and as part of other outfits - on such labels as RVNG INTL and Permanent Vacation. This outing on Dopeness Galore marks their collaborative debut. It's a wonderfully atmospheric and quietly colourful collection of tracks, all told, with the duo teasing undeniably spacey and evocative sounds out of a collection of vintage analogue synthesizers and drum computers. Stylistically, it's something of an inspired and hard-to-pigeonhole mish-mash of Tangerine Dream motifs, sparking Steve Moore synthesizer chords, hazy acid lines and bustling Motor City futurism (albeit twisted into decidedly Balearic new shapes).
Dutch trio Yor Kultura head up the Laut & Luise imprint and are well regarded within mainland Europe's festival circuit - with appearances at some of the most respected events such as Garbicz Festival, Amsterdam Dance Event and of course America's infamous Burning Man. These guys can truly bring the goods! Beginning with the entrancing cosmo-balearica of "Lotus" with its woozy arpeggios and lazy rhythm patterns. On "Oak" they're then into some sleazy and slinky tech house (on the depper tip) that's perfect for the afterhours. The EP's true standout is the slo-mo tribalism of "Willow" with its smooth polyrhythms and hypnotic atmosphere, which you could imagine played live to much fanfare. It also gets a series of wicked remixes: Fleeting Wax main man Mehmet Aslan delivers a rendition that nails that indie-dance vibe, as heard by him on labels like Emotional Especial and Huntleys + Palmers. The dub mix by Aslan also features next and forgoes the wacky vocals for a more woozy and trance inducing version: that we were well into!
With previous form on Colors and Love Fever, Remi Mazet returns on relatively new label Social Joy with a deep and refined trip through house music as played by a true musician. There's a dusky, cinematic quality to the whole EP, from the captivating intro to the sweet Rhodes soul of "Safran" and on to the broken wheeze of "Jazz E". "Shrine" has a more forthright club-ready veneer, while "Jammin" brings furthermore machine-oriented grooves, but at all times the devil is in the details, and this record is most devilish indeed. One for all those craving a little more subtlety and flair in their house music.
While Ransom Note has built up its credentials with years of quality music and culture editorial, they've truly shaped up to be a wonderful label, too. Constantly bringing new artists to the foray, this latest EP from debutant Mother Of Mars is yet another sublime new addition to a sparkling catalogue of outsider dance music and sci-fi ambient. "Hera In The Valley" is all about the synth rolling, creating a dense and introspective groove out of sparse percussion and wondrous droning - a perfect track for anyone who like to travel to the other side of the moon. "Seed 2 Sky", the title track, is a much deeper affair, subtly morphing and twisting its synths into a slo-mo sort of balearica that will undoubtedly appeal to the hardcore drone fanatics. An ambient tip for you...
Dutch producer Larry De Kat has been spotted delivering an album to Lazare Hoche and sliding his wares onto SlapFunk and Dungeon Meat alike, but his Katnip label it the one to watch for some of his most personal wares. This new release finds him purring his way through downtempo, soul-inflected selections that open out a whole new dimension to this talented, versatile producer. Juno's vocals are the icing on a particularly funky cake on "Do For Love", while "So Damn Fine" is an instrumental beat worthy of D'Angelo (sadly not included). The jazzy licks pour out of this release like honey - Larry De Kat just upped his game yet again and we strongly advise you to take heed.
"Friday Morning" is the first single taken from Texan trio Khurangbin's second album entitled 'Con Todo El Mundo'. The track is equal parts nostalgic soul and low slung funk with an exotic ambience. Formed of Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald "DJ" Johnson on drums, their sound is 'rooted in the deepest waters of world music infused with classic soul, dub and psychedelia.' Their 2015 debut album 'The Universe Smiles Upon You' was heavily influenced by 60's and 70's Thai cassettes and the new album takes inspiration not just from South East Asia, but similarly undiscovered funk and soul of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, particularly Iran.
Deliciously dreamy material from the D and double D crew. A thoroughly international affair, this time we find Scotland's Khromi and India's Liquid Memoirs colliding for a woozy, soft-focus beat trip that's tailored for the cosiest of chill sessions. Liquid Memoirs concludes the set with two slightly heavier pieces; "Soul Search" balances chunky beats and lilting pads with a stately sense of contrast while "Panda" flexes on some heart-melting harmonics and a piano riff that layers itself up with lung-squeezing results. Dank N Dirty delights!
Much like the way their previous releases have surfaced, German label SUED see no reason to press the button marked 'engage prior fanfare mode' just because they reach double figures with the arrival of their 10th release. Therefore it's down to us to lay praise on a wonderful suite of tracks from PG Sounds, the production partnership of label co-founder SVN and Philip Gelberg. It's the second PG Sounds release for SUED after the pair dropped 007. Much the same could be said about the six untitled cuts on SUED 010, where personal pitch preference really dictates whether PG Sounds operate at hazed out beatdown tempo or the sweet place near to the more abstract house cuts.
With little to no information on hand as to the genesis of this collaboration between SUED boss SVN and the superbly named Club No-No the imagination is left unfettered to speculate. Listening to both tracks, you are moved to ponder whether they are the result of SVN and Club No-No (aka Snorre Magnar Solberg) embarking on a field recording trip to the local zoo. The sounds of unspecified wildlife is wedged deep within the grooves of both sides, with the first track the sort of ambient techno you feel Actress wants to make as the merest of percolating textures and soft basslines hinting at a degree of rhythm amidst a calming backdrop of found sound. Then it is a markedly more urgent production and the lack of kick drum offers interesting mixing possibilities for the more talented of DJs out there.
More purist/deep techno jams on the classic Detroit influenced tip, courtesy of SUED and Acido co-head SVN. First, we've got the deep and cyclical minimal loop "Track 1" while it also features the imaginatively titled "Track 2" which is funky and vaguely boogie influenced by way of classic retro-futurist vibes: loved this one. Then, things take a darker and harder turn on "Track 3" in a classic Ifach kind of way until "Track 4" gets all fierce: electro style on us, in that sub-aquatic Drexciyan kinda fashion. All killer no filler right here!

Top Labels
New State
Music For Dreams US
Eighteenth Street Lounge Music US
K7 Germany