Reviewed this week
NYC's The Golden Filter, a duo made up of Penelope Trappes and Stephen Hindman, are naturally infused into the genetic code of Glasgow's Optimo imprint. Not to be confused with Golden Teacher, the pair also delve into the depths of dance music, merging the boundaries of house, techno and outernational. Their recent EP, End Of Times, is what has produced this latest outing, also on Optimo. Dub Of Times, as you can imagine, is a three-version offshoot that developes and evolves the title tune into some pretty killer territories, with the Golden Dub deploying a warm, driving bassline that's rich with a hedonistic euphoria all too often forgotten these days, and the Silver Dub ups the tempo, while the accapella does its duty with some fine voices and wondrous drones. Absolute magic.
Much like the works of contemporaries Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus, Burt Friedman's work has been a pillar of the modern German electronic sound. Forever exploring the lines between outernational music and more rigid hardware structures, the artist has always remained true to his vision. First coming through with sparse, explorative rhythms back in the late 80s, he has racked up an incredible amount of releases by now, many of them through his own Nonplace imprint. This new anthology is the first official compilation of his most defining work, and comes as an absolute breath-taker given the vastness of the catalogue. Spanning the best of his works between 1980 and 2017, the comp gives us a vivid image of his steady progression as a sound engineer, constantly dipping and diving between tribal percussions, technoid ballads and dub-filtered downtempo. If you've come here looking for the truth, then this release should come before anything else. Unmissable and highly recommended.
French soulful techno expert Agoria returns to his Sapiens imprint with yet more surefire dancefloor drama. "Boomerang" is a fitting name for this woozy and hypnotic cut that features a trippy sub bass snarl that veers to and from you within its sonic spectrum. We are then presented with the trilogy that is "Directory". The first part being a brooding sonic landscape that reaches near psychedelic moments, likewise the second is also a modular based drone piece. The third and final part of the puzzle is without doubt the most avant -garde and passive aggressive - calling to mind the work of Thomas Ankersmit or Morton Subotnick. This fine release follows up a real winning streak for the label in recent times courtesy of scene favourites Eagles & Butterflies, Dino Lenny and fellow Frenchman Oxia to name but a few.
Liverpool's Matthew Barnes returns to London's Ninja Tune outfit with a one-off single from his new LP, Compassion. "Exalter" perfectly captures the mood and vibe of the album, a rhythmic assortment of ethnic harmonies that have been collated under a more rigid electronic framework. With fleeting, miasmic vocals, and a loose range of hollow electornic sounds, Forest Swords gives the term downtempo and whole new meaning. Deep and majestic, tenebrous and uplifting. All at once.
Blackdown's output for the Keysound imprint is responsible for some of the most breath-taking shades of bass available on the market right now, and it's thanks to artists like these that the scene is pushing ahead into fresh new corners of the electronic spectrum. None of the tunes on this new album, Those Moments, ever risk sounding too stale or obvious - there is a constant state of surprise and wonder at the helm. Like the works of Burial in the mid 00's, this is a very personal take on grime culture, blending and chopping low frequencies with all sorts of field recordings; "Those Moments" itself is awonderfully balanced bit of spoken word, surrounded by drones and synths, while others like "Halcyon Skies" are a perfect representation of how far one can stretch the bass formula - pushing into far into the ether. Highly recommended.
Always playing the part of the joker, Jee Day makes a fine appearance here with this new EP for Public Release. The man's been killing it over the years, with released for the likes of DFA having catapulted him to underground stardom; it's an absolute shame he doesn't release even more output! "Crocodile Tears" is a mesmerising voyage into the heart of the jungle, pulsating it's wobbly bass over freaky outsider sonics and deranged instruments, sitting somewhere between techno and coldwave. What a monster tune. "Communication Masterbation", unlike its name, fulfils a much clearer role, one that takes us deeper into dance while still retaining the freedom and experimentation of the previous track; the Amot dub, as you'd expect, droves us deeper into the mix, and further out into the ether. Warmly recommended!



Morgan King is a bit of a UK legend. Having first come though in the late 80s, he was on everyone's radar, including greats like Depeche Mode. He has never gone away, and his spirit is still firmly felt in the music that's being made today. This new LP, Grains & Grams is more liberatory compared to his previous output, with the producer going beyond the more predictable synthwave jams being replicated today. The mood is, indeed, somber and pensive, but King's voice is an uplifting affair, touching down on the speakers with the confidence and vision of an artist who was around during the height of the UK electronic scene.
Diggers everywhere rejoiced when Echovolt Records boss Ilias Pitsios and celebrated selector Tako Reyenga of Redlight Records fame got together to form Into The Light, with their inaugural compilation of Greek Electronic Music, Classics & Rarities a sublime introduction to a world of lesser known musical excellence. Into the Light return with an eagerly awaited second release that narrows the focus to Vangelis Katsoulis, a man daubed the 'king of Greek electronics'. The Athens born Katsoulis was one of the artists featured on that 2012 compilation and remains active today across numerous disciplines. As the full title alludes, The Sleeping Beauties focuses on the late '80s period when Katsoulis was beginning to increasingly incorporate electronics in his compositions, with material from his Tchaikovsky riffing 1988 album The Slipping Beauties featuring on the collection along with four unreleased works, two of which Katsoulis recorded last year. Fans of poignant electronics should check this!
The latest release from Into The Light demonstrates once again few can match Tako Reyenga of Redlight Records fame and his Echovolt counterpart Ilias Pitsios when it comes showcasing the sublime musical pioneers of '70s and '80s Greece. Much like last year's Vangelis Katsoulis retrospective, the focus of the latest Into The Light release falls on another artist to feature on their classic debut compilation in the shape of George Theodorakis. Son of Mikis, the legendary composer responsible for scoring Zorba The Greek and Serpico, Theodorakis issued only a limited amount of music over a 20 year period, but was known for his intense studio habits which resulted in a vast archive of unreleased material. Much of that features on The Rules of the Game: Original Studio Recordings (1978-1995), with the 16 tracks rolling deeper into the new age synthesizer vibe of the two Theodorakis compositions that featured on the label's debut compilation.