Review: Returning to his home turf with a new album, Luke Abbott is following in his boss Holden's footsteps in turning his knack for outboard gear towards more experimental fare compared to the usual emotive bombast of his output. From the outset it's clear that Wysing Forest is a chance for Abbot to unchain his synths and get deep in the murk, and yet his winsome charm shines through on ranging opener "Amphis". "Unfurling" is more obtuse, half way out towards the kind of work Ekoplekz is known for, but there's still space for some heartfelt moments as on "Free Migration". Without the urgency of dancefloor mechanics behind him, it's a very revealing and honest portrait of Luke Abbott as an artist.
Review: In the fine tradition of Border Community, Luke Abbott comes correct with this selection of winsome techno designed to tug at the heartstrings through heavy deployment of gently detuning synths. "Brazil" in both its incarnations here shimmers with the hazy charm you expect form Mr Abbott, while "Grumble" has a real edge to it thanks to some wilful distortion. The krautrock tendencies of Etienne Jaunet's remix makes it our pick of the two (admittedly sublime) tweaks, although the Gold Panda version is well worth checking too.
Review: When Nathan Fake first rose to prominence it was due to the fact that his mixture of dreamy melodies and noisy rhythms matched intelligent techno with shoegazing indie - and sounded totally fresh. "Iceni Strings", the latest release by the precocious UK producer, tells a different story. While it is suffused with the hiss of glitchy percussion and sublime melodies, it also features ice cool synths and a dance floor sensibility that had been hitherto lacking in his music. "Sense Head" sees him explore this approach farther, with a jacking, rolling groove supporting spiralling acid lines and his signature detuned melodies. Fake traditionalists will be heartened by the inclusion of "Bauxite Dream" a gloriously lazy, glitchy break beat affair with a sensuous synth melody at its core.
Review: Nathan Fake returns with his long awaited third LP. Steam Days is pitched almost directly between the pastoral sounds of his debut Drowning In A Sea Of Love and the razor-edged, abrupt Hard Islands. Some tracks are pushed through sharp, angular rhythmic shapes, such as the strobing bass of "Harnser" or the abrasive "A World of Spectrum", which utilises steam powered, clockwork rhythms, while some show his knack for soft-focus melodies, such as the wistful "Paean" which sounds like Ghost Box hauntology made techno, and the washed out trance of "Sad Vember".
Review: Given that the precocious Nathan Fake was a pioneer in the area of melodic, indie meets electronic, it's strange to hear him calling a release Paean. Despite this, it's business as usual for the UK producer, with a cascade of melodic lines and psychedelic modulations unfolding over a rattling break beat. By contrast, the Coda remix is but a short, noisy outro and Lukid's version is a noisy, bass-heavy broken beat reshape. It's the Lone version that most articulately captures the spirit of the original version. The synth sounds redefine the term 'breezy' and, over brittle break beats, veer into melodies so sweet that they could replace the sugar in your morning cup of coffee.
Review: As part of a cultural exchange programme that found Floating Points and James Holden travelling to Morocco to take part in a unique collaborative week next to the pool at the Fellah Hotel. Working with Maalem Mahmoud Guinia and his band, the British artists turned in their own versions from the sessions with excellent results. Floating Points takes a delicate approach to the source material, slowly feeding in considered synth lines to accompany the traditional claps, chants and guembri. James Holden meanwhile offers up three different tracks which instantly fall louder, working more effects processing into the mix and capturing a rough and ready African production vibe that equally complements the music.
Review: James Holden continues with the pastoral theme that has defined Border Community since day one. In this instance however, the bucolic influences stem from time spent listening to the trippier end of Krautrock. The title track is a sprawling synth affair, its high-pitched squeals, whirs and squeaks reminiscent of early Kraftwerk or Tangerine Dream. There is an argument that this could be nothing more than an act of self-indulgence, but as the "Arpsolo" version shows, there is something unfeasibly beautiful and yes, fragile about this release. Holden's DJ followers will also be won over by the filtered, rolling drums of the "Drumsolo" version.
Review: One of The Inheritors more subdued moments, it may initially seem odd for James Holden to have chosen such an undanceable track for its own EP, but here it finds itself warped into new forms for the club environment. The "Tool" version sees Holden laying a slowly unfurling rhythm under the original's pastoral analogue synths which ebb and flow with a new intensity. The "dub" does much the same but in a more subdued manner, while the "Gibbersolo" isolates the deeply disturbing vocals to chilling effect.
Review: This is by far and away the best thing James Holden's released for some time. Sounding not unlike a fusion of Steve Summers' Confused House project, Kelpe and Caribou (fitting, since he dons his Daphni guide to remix), "Renata" builds on a wave of fuzzy, crystalline synthesizer appreggios - underpinned by a lone drum machine - before unleashing some dizzying jazz drums. The Daphni remix takes the track in a different direction, creating a sparse, clicky, atmospheric beast that makes great use of Holden's loose live drums and some choice vocal samples. Steve Moore, on the other hand, opts to focus on the more beautiful elements of the original, turning it into a dreamy slice of synthwave bliss.
James Holden/Camilo Tirado - "Outdoor Museum Of Fractals" - (46:56) 100 BPM
Luke Abbott - "555Hz" - (32:55)
Review: Last year, Border Community heavyweights James Holden and Luke Abbott took part in a special performance to mark the 80th birthday of minimalist legend Terry Riley. Here, the extended pieces they performed that night are finally released. Holden's 46-minute piece - performed with tabla player Camilo Tirado, and created by writing a special sequencer for his modular synthesizer - is little less than an exotic, slowly evolving masterpiece, up there with the American composer's finest synthesizer works. Abbott's "555Hz", on the other hand, is an altogether deeper and more languid affair, but no less enthralling. Built around droning, drawn-out chords and subtle melodic shifts, it bubbles away attractively like the greatest intergalactic ambience.
Review: Rocketnumbernine, the project of brothers Tom and Ben Page, has been closely tied to a very specific type of London sound ever since their debut as a duo on Kieren Hebden's Text Records. Since then, they've also released on London's Soul Jazz Records, and have offered a wonky, experimental yet richly musical sort of house music. They now land on the excellent Border Community with two new tracks, the first one being too far from both electronica and house to properly categorise it in either one. The point is that the pair's music is deep and explorative, blurring the lines between electronic genres one bit at a time. Certainly recommended.