Review: Following a long series of EPs dating back to the early 2010s, UK duo Psychemagik step up with their much-anticipated debut album. Opener 'We Can Be One' (featuring Quinn Lamont Duke) is a dreamy Balearic-pop-soul nugget and sets the tone nicely, with the album as a whole veering between Zero 7/Lemon Jelly-style leftfield pop (check out the cinematic 'Chimera', or 'Valley Of Paradise', which is like finding Simon & Garfunkel jamming with Nils Frahm in the chill-out room) and soaring, disco-fied deep house reminiscent of Faze Action (see 'Triumph Of The Gods' or 'Above The Clouds'). It's a little 'polite' at times, but an engaging listen all the same.
Review: Earlier in his career, there was a fair amount of hype surrounding O'Flynn's hard-to-pigeonhole club cuts, with the producer's outings on Blip Discs and Ninja Tune getting particular attention. Here he delivers his debut album, a wonderfully fluid, evocative and enjoyable set that attractively sashays between languid ambience, Afro and Latin-influenced cut-up club cuts that cannily fuse disco, nu-disco and deep house, drum dubs and percussion jams, and off-kilter affairs that defy simplistic categorization. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the dreamy dub disco flex of "Tru Dancing" and jazzy deep house warmth of "Painted Wolf", to the huggable dreaminess of two-step shuffler "Celestial" and the loved-up haziness of enveloping closing cut "Neptune".
Review: On his debut solo LP for Ostgut Ton, Leisure System co-founder Sam Barker turns his focus toward the psychology behind the musical decision making process, with solutions for 'quantifying pleasure, abolishing suffering, and the ethical use of drugs and nanotechnology' - being just some of the themes over its nine tracks, with a strong aesthetic of dub techno throughout. From thought provoking IDM cuts like "Posmean" or the particularly cavernous "Gradients Of Bliss", right through to moments of emotive techno-soul as heard on the title track and the transcendental ambience of "Wireheading" - 'Utility' is a non-ironic musical approach to a whole spectrum of utilitarian and transhumanist ideas.
Review: Japanese downtempo don Calm has released over a dozen albums in a career dating back to the 90s, and here comes the remixed version of his latest, 2018's 'By Your Side'. Overall, the 'mellow mellow' part of the title makes more obvious sense than the 'acid' part, because the tempo rarely moves above walking pace and the 303 comes out on only a couple of tracks, but if downtempo, headnoddin' grooves are your thing you'll find much to enjoy, while Lucas Croon's remix of 'Before Landing' brings a little dirty funk to the party and Cantoma's rub of 'You Can See The Sunrise Again' is a blissed-out Balearic houser.
Review: Over the course of the last decade, dub-soaked musical fusionist Lord Echo has delivered a string of fine releases, including two top-notch albums. Given his fine track record, it's perhaps unsurprising that Soundway has snapped up the Kiwi producer's third full-length excursion, Harmonies. It features contributions from a posse of guest collaborators - Tony Laing of Fat Freddy's Drop and regular studio buddy Mara TK included - and giddily infuses reggae and rocksteady with disco, Afro-soul, Afro-funk, Afro-beat, spiritual jazz and, more surprisingly, techno. It's a hugely vibrant and entertaining set, all told, offering a good balance between dancefloor vibrations and more laidback concoctions.
Review: Last year Disco Halal introduced us to Mount Kismet, a production trio comprising David Ducarage, Douglas Pisterman and Henning Specht, via a track on the multi-artist "Perfect Strangers EP". Here they offer the threesome a chance to set out their distinctive take on exotic musical fusion via a debut album that effortlessly joins the dots between psychedelic electronic disco, intoxicating Middle Eastern music and chugging, sunrise-ready house. There's much to admire throughout, from the layered percussion and haunting melodies of "Agfa" and "Arif", to the spaced-out, string-laden brilliance of "Targajh Movement 1" and the stylish Arabic post-punk psychedelia of "Teenage Fantasy".
The Universe Smiles Upon You (mix) - (39:44) 87 BPM
Review: Inspired by the slightly unlikely collision of the Thai music of the '70s and The Shadows, Khruangbin - the name means 'aeroplane' in Thailand - are purveyors of a deliriously mellow and beguiling form of jammed-out power-trio guitar music - far removed from standard notions of psych and dreampop, partly owing to its pan-global influences, its nonetheless both psychedelic and dreamy, not to mention possessed of an unhurried, reflective and spacious lilt that renders this Texan-London outfit a rare treat in an information-saturated age, taking on delicate soul and funk with exotic atmospheres and making the journey feel both blissful and effortless.
Review: Diego Herrera's newest alias is SK U NO, where the artist commonly known for his work as Suzanne Kraft explores more seductive, neon-lit aesthetics via textured FM synthesis - as heard on a recent run of terrific releases on Jonny Nash's Melody As Truth imprint. U KNO is the first solo release from the Amsterdam based artist in a couple of years. With this collection of tracks, Herrera created two live performances in Paris and Amsterdam last year, and they are presented as a snapshot of his studio explorations at the time.
Review: It's been some six years since Hun Choi made his debut on William Burnett's WT Records imprint. In that time, he's proved incredibly hard to pin down. This debut album for Rush Hour seems designed to continue that trend, offering a series of warm, melodious and curiously Balearic cuts that defy easy categorization. Sure, there are dancefloor-focused moments - see the cacophonous, Detroit-influenced hustle of "Error of the Average", the deep acid madness of "Silent Sensations" and the classic deep house bounce of "Desire" - but also a range of downtempo and ambient jams that arguably impress more. Of these, it's "The World" - a humid exercise in tropical drums, twittering flutes and looped vocal samples - and the sublime, string-laden "Bruises" that really stand out.
Review: There's a reason why HNNY's "Sunday" is called what it is and take one listen to it and we don't think any further explanation will be needed. It's a marvellous opener that leads into a quirky 20 second loop followed by the Moby-esque "Cheer Up My Brother". Remember "The Sunscreen Song"? For a house version focused on fidelity check out "You Feeling Alright", and there's some dubbed out chimes in "Memory Tape One". Should albums by the likes of The Avalanches, Fat Freddy's Drop and Fatboy Slim to Quasimodo, Leon Vynehall and/or Paxton Fettel be your thing, give this a spin on your next day off.