Review: Recently, Esa Williams has done a good job in stepping out of the shadow of regular Auntie Flo collaborator Brian D'Souza. Here he furthers his solo career via a fine EP on much-loved Dutch imprint Dekmantel. He begins with the deliciously angular and fuzzy "Blast", a joint production with Notch Beats that wraps Pendo Zawose's exotic, drifting vocals around razy sharp electronic motifs and shuffling, 108 BPM afro-house beats. Kenyan vocalist Abakisimba lends a hand on the warm and fluid East African deep house lusciousness of "Rift Valley", before Williams rounds things off via the house tempo Detroit techno positivity of "Rent-a-Disc".
Review: Juju and Jordash are rather good at making albums. Their last full-length excursion, 2012's brilliant Techno Primitivism, was a gloriously maudlin and evocative affair, as influenced by drowsy ambient and experimental electronica as house and techno. While there are some similarly dark tracks lurking in the shadows of third album Clean Cut (see the creepy "Swamp Things"), for the most part it's a pleasingly dancefloor-centric concoction. That's not to say that they've packed it with jolly moments - the tipsy, melodious "Anywhere" and dub disco-meets-deep house wonk-out "SP Shakes" aside - but rather their leftfield blends of house and techno have a more club-friendly feel. The results are, for the most part, extremely good, with the rave-era revivalism of "Whippersnapper" (a kind of darkroom, Detroit-influenced take on T-Coy's "Carino") standing out.
Review: Fans of the likes of Yellow Magic Orchestra will find much to enjoy on this five-track downtempo/leftfield EP from Dutch duo Lamellen - there's something distinctly 'Forbidden Colours'-like about the delicate synths that lead the ambient-not-ambient 'Horse Massage', for starters. 'Spider' leans more towards angular, new wave-y Italo-disco, 'Oyster' is an experimental slo-mo/Balearic oddity with little fluttery sounds that seem to mimic birdsong or animal noises, 'Railrunner' comes on like early 80s synth-funk via Music From Ceefax, while closer 'Pippo Denemarken' has a quirky, circus-like feel and features a lovely nagging, lolloping Hammond riff.
Review: Cyclicality Between Procyon & Gomeisa is a lofty title by anyone's standards, but firmly in-keeping with the psychedelic influences behind Vakula's distinctive brand of inspired electronic wizardry. It's fair to say that the lauded Ukranian is on fine form on this third studio full-length, serving up 14 trippy tracks that variously fuse heady ambience, dub techno, new age deep house, electronic jazz, dubbed-out blues and, perhaps most surprisingly, cosmic disco (see the excellent "Intergalactic Funk"). As usual, Vakula's production skills and unique vision shine through, giving the album a coherent feel despite his impressive, genre-bending antics.
Review: If your finances couldn't quite stretch to buying all four releases in the unique Dekmantel x Patta series - in which limited edition vinyl EPs came packaged with exclusive items of clothing - this digital compilation is something of a lifesaver. For starters, the exclusive material - first included on the hard-to-get EPs, and now showcased here - is pretty darn tasty. The various Amsterdam-based producers involved generally hit the spot, from the melodious, analogue-rich Balearic techno of Young Marco's "The Best I Could Do (With What I Had)", and sparkling Detroit retro-futurism of Mark Du Mosch's "2nd 5ystem", to the cosmic deep house shimmer of Tom Trago's "Brutal Romance", and bizarre, off-kilter deep house-jazz of Makam's "The Struggles". Aardvark's quirky rumba-house workout, "Kubaa Rumbaa" is rather good, too.