Review: Having kick started his career internationally through the likes of Blood Music, Boys Noize Records and a now faded electro scene, Hoshina Anniversary has ebbed his way into the catalogues of DJ Lyster's Youth label, London's Alien Jams and ESP Institute. Jomon presents the artist with a sixth album and third release for Love Fingers' label, and it presents a unique blend of downbeat electronics and industrial jazz to acid techno tracks, harder edged breakbeats and avant pop that all feature Hoshina Anniversary's inherent exotic touch. And for something straight out of the blocks we recommend the house groove and playful hauntolgies of "Rokumeikan".
Review: 'Skylark' was undoubtedly one of the shimmering highlights on Lord of the Isles' rather good 2016 album, In Waves, so it's great to see it return to stores in re-mastered and remixed form. This time round, the superb original - a spacey and emotive affair that sees the Scottish artist wrap a kick-heavy drum machine beat in star-fall synthesizer motifs and elongated early morning chords - comes accompanied by some fresh remixes. His old pal Linkwood steals the show with an epic, ultra-deep version that sounds like ambient techno fused with broken beat, while Tourist Kid provides a similarly impressive experimental ambient take. Bonus cut 'OmniMulti', a house tempo exercise in melancholic Motor City futurism, is also rather good.
Review: Having broken cover last March to release an album of wonderfully eccentric electronica on Alien Jams, Hoshina Anniversary returns to ESP Institute for the first time since the tail end of 2019. The Japanese producer is once again in cosmic and otherworldly - but nevertheless dancefloor-friendly form, prioritising undulating acid bass, bongo-rich drums, jazz-funk style electric piano solos and alien-sounding chords on mid-tempo opener 'Karakuri'. He brilliantly pitches down the tempo on accompanying track 'Michinoku', quirkily underpinning a clicking, lo-fi drum track with minor key piano riffs and creepy-but spacey chords on 'Michinoku'.
Review: Not much is known about Metal, the latest artist to release on Lovefingers' label. Despite this sense of mystery, if you are looking for left of centre electronic music, you've come to the right place. "Dislocation Climb" is a gloomy synth-laden workout, underpinned by steely drums. On "Alloyed Forces", Metal picks up the pace to deliver a linear rhythm littered with razor-sharp percussion that underpin cosmic sound scapes and a rumbling bass. This flirtation with the dance floor is only a temporary measure, and on the title track, Metal delivers a moody, downtempo track that oozes synth-led gloom.
Review: Daniel Koehler follows up last year's Melencolia V release on ESP Institute with this bubbling, diverse affair. On "Light Magic", Koehler drops a shuffling rhythm that is underpinned by repetitive vocal samples and buzzing electronic riffs. It sounds like a slightly more accessible version of what he releases on labels like Skudge and Diagonal. In contrast, "The Grand Illusion" comes across as being more introspective. Revolving around languid break beats, its guitar squalls are mixed with looped chords that give the arrangement some extra impetus and ensure that it will work both as a warm up track or peak time selection.
Review: Described as a clean-cut all-American pedal steel guitarist, and member of the country-tinged Mojave 3 outfit on 4AD, Raymon Richards has an epic discography to be discovered. Introduced to the leftfield, house and disco loving community through ESP Institute, the label champions Richards' new age twang and ambience of through The Lost Art Of Wandering. Largely an ambient affair of finger picked guitars, harmonicas and percussion, all lathered in gorgeous reverb and delay, there's still some drum machines and rhythm tracks to be found in "Roslyn, Washington", "Fossil, Oregon" and deep into "Tucson, Arizona". The Lost Art Of Wandering is an all-American affair and ode to the lonely roads and rolling tumbleweeds of dreamland's wild west.
Review: Ground follows last year's Logos EP and his critically acclaimed Sunizm album on ESP Institute with this fine, frazzled release. "Wakusei a" is set to a mid-tempo rhythm and teems with abstract percussion, spooky vocal samples and bursts of droning feedback and noise. Adding to the sense of intrigue, a mysterious pianist plays away in the background. Meanwhile, "Wakusei y" features a droning bass that supports a cacophony of found-sound samples. It's only on "Hayabusa" that Ground turns his attention towards the dance floor, but as is his wont, the groove is scuffled and led by dense layers of percussion, a heady climax to another individualistic release.
Review: ESP Institute has become synonymous with championing left of centre dance music and this debut by Hoshina Anniversary is testament to the label's knack of supporting unusual releases. "Sagano" revolves around a low-slung groove and robust drums that support droning textures and colourful synths. On "Haru Wa Akebon'", the Tokyo producer moves towards some semblance of convention; designed for more discerning dance floors, staccato percussion and an understated, pulsating rhythm play host to warm house keys and the sound of machines malfunctioning in the background. It rounds off the latest eccentric EP to be issued by the ESP roster.
Review: Following on from last year's remixes of Artificial on ESP, Benedikt Frey returns to the label with some fresh material. "Interlinked" is a robust electro affair, bolstered by steely drums and tweaked acid that support an ominous vocal sample. It sets an ominous tone for the release. The mood remains the same but the delivery differs on "Pilot", where Frey lays down understated bass notes and gloomy atmospherics. While "Interlinked" sees him pick up the pace and resounds to a low-slung groove, it too boasts haunted vocal samples and eerie synths. The fuzzy, murky rhythm of "Pedal to the Metal" closes out this superb EP of electronic mood music.
Review: Under the now familiar TCB alias, Christian Beisswenger has spent the best part of a decade offering up distinctive mutations of deeo house, techno and tech-house for labels including Live At Robert Johnson, Tasteful Nudes, Die Orakel and House Is OK. "Prima Astrology" sees him tackle the mini-album format for the first time via an outing on ESP Institute that's arguably aimed more towards home listening than any of his previous work. Of course, there are a number of club-ready cuts on show, but like the album's more downtempo offerings they're deep, spacey, cleverly composed and often shot through with references to dub-house and dub techno (see "Wet FX" and "Once Past Twenty" for starters). It's a good blend that makes for suitably drowsy and enjoyable listening, with highlights including the eccentric, off-kilter opener "Spooks", the deep digi-dub of "Help For People" and the blue-tinged early morning warmth of "Prima Astrology".
Review: Emerging last year to rework Benedikt Frey's "Private Crimes" on ESP Institute, Dalo aka Nadia D'Al? now delivers her debut EP for the label. The title track is a tight, jacking affair, led by a pulsating acid line and featuring a doomy vocal accompaniment. On "Myth", she veers towards a more industrial sound, with bleak synths unravelling over a primal pulse. That sound is further teased out on "Cnt", where Dalo delivers shrieking vocals over a dark, dense rhythm, chiming bells and a visceral, building bass. Rounding off the release is "Agenda", where a heads-down, pulsating ebm-style groove prevails.
Review: You certainly can't accuse Japanese chill-out producer and found sound enthusiast Ground of sticking too rigidly to a well-defined blueprint - the three tracks presented here don't sound anything like each other! In its Original form, 'Follow Me' is a world music-leaning Balearic number, with a hefty bassline, mantra-like female vocal, aquatic sounds, heavyweight hand percussion and an overall hypnotic feel. The Jay Glass Dubs Mix then takes the track into seriously out-there experimental territory, before the EP's completed by 'Ozone House', a percussion- and vibes-led affair with a pronounced Far Eastern feel. If you dig Gilles P or Bonobo, you'll probably dig Ground, too.
Review: This is the second outing for Xinner aka Robotron on ESP, and follows 2018's debut, Dream Resonator. Sitting somewhere between electro, techno and industrial, it's an impressive follow-up that showcases his considerable talent. "Exodus" resounds to tough 808s but also features airy synths woven around the robust rhythm. "Kamchatkan" also favours an off centre approach to the dance floor. Built on a minimal, stepping rhythm, its sweeping synth lines are combined with warbling acid that transports the listener to a tripped out electro space that's redolent of Transparent Sound and the catalogue of late 90s underground labels like Groove Pleasure.
Review: Lemmi Ash is a new project comprising producer Martin "Martinou" Str?mstedt and long-term ESP Institute affiliate DJ Samo. The act's debut release, Osmin Uratoma leans towards the label's more techno-facing sound; "Lemmi Ash Theme" is built on a dense, low-slung groove and wave upon wave of filters, while "Apsu" is a loose, percussive affair, featuring powerful sub-bass and organ riffs. The duo go off the abstract deep end with "To Dare is To Do", which features shimmering synths and dreamy vocals layered over a stop-start rhythm, while "Horror Vacui" closes the release in melancholy, dubbed out mode.
Review: Back in 2006, Andrew Hogge AKA Lovefingers launched a simple blog in which he offered up one "Fingertrack" a day. To celebrate the tenth birthday of his fine ESP Institute label Hogge has decided to release a series of compilations containing some of the gems he originally shared online. There's naturally tons of fantastic little-known fare to be found on this first collection, which encompasses spaced-out psychedelic style dream pop, groovy disco-rock, thrusting new wave club rockers, throbbing Euro-disco and unashamedly odd but brilliant Balearic fare. Highlights are plentiful but we'd suggest checking Lovefingers' remix of D.E's exoctic and hypnotic "Full Moon", the horizontal art-rock wooziness of Electronic System's "Skylab", the new age bliss of Florian Poser's "Winds" and the throbbing sleaziness of Data's "Data Plata".
Review: Bartellow aka Benedikt Brachtel returns to ESP Institute with remixes of tracks from his 2017 album, Panokorama. First up is Florian Kupfer from L.I.E.S, who turns "Sala Sensei" into a teased out lo-fi jam, with cavernous filters cascading into epic drops. Gilb'r from Versatile also opts for a dubbed out take on the same track, but it has a softer, more shimmering approach as a dub groove chugs away in the background. Given their reputation for making lean, linear club techno, it comes as no surprise that Skudge's take on "Clypp" is an expertly streamlined, tracky affair, but this is a largely out-there remix package, as evidenced by Ground's warbling, sub-aquatic take on "Clypp".
Review: It looks like 2019 is going to be Tobar's year. Having dropped his vivid, expansive Continuidad album for ESP Institute, he now returns to the label with more heat. "Recife", which featured on the long player, is presented in 'Bailemix' format, making it a searing, sensuous groove that resounds to steely drums and a searing, low-slung bass. It's a mesmerising, hypnotic track, one that is sure to get played at festivals this summer. On the flip, the Chilean artist drops a new arrangement. "Cuatro Meses De Verano" is a slower, more complex groove, featuring epic, Italo-style synths and the murkiest bass tones this side of Nation's catalogue.
Review: Following Eps on well-known underground labels such as Whities, Berceuse Heroique and Diagonal, Daniel Koehler makes his debut on ESP Institute. It's a release of contrasting styles: "Melencolia V" is a cosmic affair led by sensuous strings and shimmering synths that unfolds over an unhurried back beat and is sure to work best at sun-up. "Invidiosa" is a radically different affair: set to a high-paced tempo, its hollowed out drums take the listener down the rabbit hole and back over the course of seven minutes. As always, ESP Institute can be relied on to dig deep and deliver left of centre electronic music.
Review: Ricardo Tobar takes the listener to electronic music's outer limits on his latest artist album. Like the aesthetic of that other great producer of Chilean origin, Ricardo Villablobos, Continuidad is a sprawling, vivid affair. It moves from the gritty guitar sounds of "Les Vagues" and "Totem" into the jangling percussive rhythm of "Recife", before edging back into abstraction with dirge-like arrangements such as "Purple Sun, Rising" and "Vestigios". Tobar even touches on psychedelic textures on tracks like "First" - whose detuned guitars and tripped out nuances sound like early Pink Floyd getting it on with Spacemen 3 - but eventually makes his way back to the dance floor with the expansive groove of "Birds". Continuidad is a journey in the truest, most cosmic sense.
Review: Ricardo Tobar follows 2017's Liturgia release on ESP Institute with this diverse EP. The title track is an expansive affair, with swirling electronic sounds unfolding over a rumbling bass and rolling, dusty drums. It's a loose, unhurried track that gradually sucks the listener in as it progresses on its way. By contrast, "La Venida Del Mar" offers up a different side to the Chilean producer's production. There, the rhythm is more buzzing and electronic, with a nagging ebm riff shot through with recycled rave vocals and underpinned by filtered layers of percussion. "Birds" effortlessly represents two different sides to this talented artist's canon.
Review: Norway has always been a place for left of centre music - including a significant period during the 90s when it was one of the world's deep house hubs. As Lost In Lindos demonstrates, it remains friendly to those who make music on the fringes. "Bleusa" is an understated but expansive house groove, its pared back beats supporting balmy chords. "Forus Echo" is more uptempo, but just as idiosyncratic, as skipping beats and ticking percussion supports dreamy synths. On the title track, Nygard retreats to an atmospheric, down tempo place, while he leads the listener into a hazy, ambient finale with the swirling electronic plumes of "?ylie".
Review: Canadian producer Nathan Micay follows up releases on Whities, 17 Steps and several editions of his own Schvitz Edits series with this energetic pair of tracks for Los Angeles based ESP institute. The Berlin by way of Toronto artist (formerly known as Bwana) further explores aesthetics of '90s trance music on the hypnotic and elevating acid express that is "Never Rhythm Game" followed by a deep, moody and introspective electro number in the form of "Team Player".
Review: Xinner has put out Eps for Phonica and Gifted Culture, but Dream Resonator is his first outing as Robotron. In fact, ESP Institute is so taken with his new alias that they refer to him as 'the machine formerly known as Xinner'. Machines still loom large on this release: "Ice" is a raw sounding electro cut, with old school drums crashing in over repetitive hooks and melodic synth lines. On the title track, Robotron sets his sights on a more dance-floor friendly approach. The groove has a pulsating, squelchy feeling and the synth hooks sit somewhere between classic Italo and Legowelt's dreamy West Coast sensibilities.
Review: This is Autre's debut release on ESP Institute, but he fits right in with the label's aesthetic. As the title track demonstrates, this emerging producer shares the same love as Loverfingers' label for freeform dance music. 303 lines spiral gently and atmospheric chords ebb and flow majestically over an off beat groove that sits somewhere between deep house and electro. It's a heady affair, with cosmic keys introduced to make it all the more intoxicating. "Frigo" is just as distinctive: over cowbells and snappy beats, an electronic salsa rhythm unravels, containing enough soul to keep even the most demanding DJ happy.
Review: Osaka's GROUND is no newcomer to the world of experimental electronics, with the artist's last official EP having come out all the way back in 1995 as a self-releases 7" on the forever-defunct 595-76-8239 Music. Sunizsm is his debut LP, with a few of these tunes already out in the last few months on separate EPs, each one of them backed by a series of killer remixes, of course. The LP as a whole, however, is a startling beauty, dipping and diving from dance music to the abstract, rich in Ground's Japanese aesthetics. "Logos", one of the tracks released already, is a tripping bundle of percussion and Eastern vocal chops and, among our other favourites on here, there's also the off-kilter chimes of "Hanasai", the moody bass tones of "Feel It", and the hypnotic journey that is "Sunizsm" itself. House-not-house for the DJ-not-DJs.
H For Hysteria (Tolouse Low Trax remix) - (5:18) 120 BPM
Private Crimes (DJ Normal 4 remix) - (5:13) 142 BPM
Private Crimes (DALO remix) - (7:24) 130 BPM
Review: Last year, ESP Institute put out Benedikt Frey's debut album and now they offer a remix package that's just as impressive. First up is I:Cube, who reworks "H for Hysteria". Currently riding high on the back of his brilliant Double Pack release, the French producer turns it into a deep, flowing affair, led by subtle acid tweaks and hushed atmospheric chords. In Tolouse Low Trax's hands, the same track morphs into a stripped back, bass-led affair, while DJ Normal 4 offers an idiosyncratic take on "Private Crimes", with deep acid lines and a ghostly vocal sample burning their way through rickety break beats. Rounding off this impressive remix package is DJ Dalo's take on "Crimes", where a spooky break beat sound prevails.
Review: To date, long serving but low key Detroiter Sharif Laffrey has specialised in delivering epic cuts that prioritize hypnotic grooves, raw drums and subtle musical shifts. For his debut on Lovefingers' ESP Institute label he ratchets up the intensity by a few dozen notches, basing fearsome "Tangier" around a druggy, full-throttle groove, wild and psychedelic acid lines, snaking Middle Eastern horn solos and the kind of rumbling bassline that will sound awesome blasting out of a meaty soundsystem. "Everything Is Nice" is deeper and groovier in tone, with Laffrey wrapping bleeping melody lines and echoing vocal samples around a crunchy drum machine rhythm. It's very good, even if it does lack the restless energy of the exotic "Tangier".
Review: Tusk is the second outing on ESP Institute by Cleveland, an alias for the Brussels-based producer Andrea Mancini. While it does not have the immediacy of some of the label's output, it does tingle and sparkle with understated brilliance. On "Aku", Mancini conjures up a vivid, complex rhythm track, peppered with reverberating tropical animal sounds, hollowed out drums and a dash of intelligent techno melancholia. The title track is even more impressive; similar in rhythmic construct to "Aku", it is imbued with glorious, jazzed out melodies and tinkling bells and is shot through with a wonderfully hypnotic bass that insinuates itself into the listener's consciousness.
Review: Juan Ramos and Luca 'Trent' Trentini come together for only their second EP as Greenvision. Rambutan will come as a surprise to fans of ESP Institute's free flowing disco sound, and could conceivably have been released on an experimental techno label. This approach is audible on "Banana Paradiso", where a doubled up, gnarly rhythm houses spacey passages and a sinewy, bleepy bass. The title track strays further into an offbeat direction thanks to Greenvision's smart fusion of abstract beats, tonal sounds and a stop-start groove. They leave the best to last however, with "The Color Of Maracuja" unfolding to the sound of melodic Asian elements and frazzled acid lines.
Review: Second Stimulus is Toby Tobias' second outing on Lovefingers' label, and goes a long way to explain why the UK producer is so revered. The title track is a cosmic affair, with mysterious melodies, tripped out synth sweeps and extra helpings of reverb all unfolding over tight drum breaks. Tobias opts for a different approach on "Synchro Surfer": focusing on the dance floor from the get-go, he delivers a linear rhythm that will be well received by DJs. However, he then proceeds to daub it in bleeps, sirens and the kind of warm and woozy chords that have become his signature.
Review: Swiss DJ and producer Ripperton has undergone a significant shift of gears since his early productions for the like of Dessous and Tamed Musiq, among others. While he was very uch on the tech-sided end of the spectrum, he has been scouted by the UK?s excellent ESP Institute, to which he has provided his fourth studio LP, Sight Seeing. Much in line with the existing syle of the imprint, the album is a wondrous voyage of deep-minded electronics, often veering towards the beatless space - the sonic ether, if you will. These fifteen euphoric progressions are nothing but good vibes, and their differentiation resides in an almost total negligence of beats and more traditional experimental tactics. In fact, this is more experiential than anything else, diving you head-first into a mesmerizing whirlpool of hollow drones, propelled by rich landscapes of colourful sounds, with a nod to the new age perspective. Hats off, Mr Ripperton!
Review: Chilean producer Ricardo Tobar has released music on far more labels than most, building up an impressive discography that includes outings on such lauded imprints as Border Community, Traum Schallplatten, Cocoon and, most recently, Correspondant. Here he adds another fine label to his bulging CV via a four-track missive on Lovefingers' ESP Institute. There's much to admire throughout, from the jangling South American instrumentation, Balearic atmosphere and loose house grooves of opener "La Dormida", to the sleazy synth bass, quietly forboding synthesizer lines and restless cowbells of standout "Liturgia". The fun doesn't stop there, though: both "The Lake" - a skewed trip into psychedelic leftfield house territory - and weirdo closer "Star Alliance" are superb.