Review: Almeeva is the nom de plume of Parisian Gregory Hoepffner, a guy who, like many French electronic artists of the last 20 years, has a real thing for widescreen '80s teen romance - equal parts Shoegaze and New Order (think M83). The Oblite EP boasts five tracks, all of which feature brooding electronic undulation, like on the Black Strobe-esque overheating Fairlights of "Again" or the malfunctioning Terminator techno-in-a-church of "Dissolver". There's even a remarkable Smiths cover, "There Is A Light", which sounds like it was produced by the Art Of Noise for an alternative John Hughes movie. Totally rad.
Review: Arandel sits somewhere on the boundary between electronic and classical music. Released on the always excellent In Fine imprint, his debut album In D is a richly textured exploration of these boundaries - the result being something that is equally applicable as headphone listening or club fodder. The music itself is entirely organic, with the producer (who has thus far managed to remain anonymous) exclusively using real instruments without the help of MIDI, samples or digital sounds. "In D#5" is a notable highlight, with delicate chimes and a nagging bassline that blows you away with its subtlety, while "In D#7" builds into a solid late night jam. Be sure to check out the bonus track "Overture" too, which brings the album to a moody, beatless close. This is one for fans of Four Tet, Pantha Du Prince, Steve Reid and Kieran Hebden.
Review: Perennial man-of-mystery Arandel returns with the belated follow-up to his acclaimed 2010 debut album In D, the title of which offered a cheeky nod to the work of Terry Riley and other American avant-garde composers. Like its predecessor, Solarispellis was composed entirely using his own instruments and analogue gear, with no MIDI, plug-ins or contemporary trickery. Flitting between unearthly ambience, bubbling themes for imaginary computer games and loose, high-minded tributes to American minimalism, it's a surprisingly wide-ranging set. While it's his love of modern classical music that inspired the more complex pieces, it's the electronic-only curiosities - like library music from another dimension - that impress the most.
Review: Istikaliya sees Aufgang rips up the arrangement rulebook. "Kyrie" sets the tone for the album, with a demure piano line veering unexpectedly into a slamming groove. A similar approach is audible on "Vertige", where hyperactive piano scale-playing suddenly lunges into tearing breakbeats that build dramatically. Most of the tracks on Istikaliya manage to strike a balance between these elements, but the most deranged has to be "Diego Maradonna". Like the unpredictable soccer genius that is named after, it swings unpredictably, from slinky, jazzy pianos into old school electro synth lines before ending up in tranced out climax, the finale to a weird and wonderful album.
Review: Techno pioneer Carl Craig's new album features eight tracks from his back catalogue re-composed in collaboration with classical musicians such as Francesco Tristano and the Les Siecles orchestra conducted by Francois-Xavier Roth. Originally released on the 2004 EP Just Another Day, this revised version of the anthemic "Sandstorms" will be featured on the new album entitled Versus. "Sandstorms" (VCO Update) is a nice modern revision of the track for modern dancefloors in all its seductive and slow burning glory.
Review: And here we are with the second batches of remixes from Carl Craig and Francesco Tristano's Versus series and, with a duo like that as a line-up, things are surely looking like they're on the up and up! The Infine imprint have collated a serious collection of remixers, starting with the mighty tech don Henrik Schwarz, who lands a majestic remix of "The Melody", backed up by Ishmael Ensemble's more abstract, jazzed-out version. Abul Mogard's rework of "At Les" unleashes a stupendous landscape of noisy drones for the most experimental ears, while Secret of Elements' remix of "Desire" is a placid, cooling vortex of subtle house, and Siavish Amini's ambient mix of "Sandstorms" unleashes a potent wave of euphoria into the airwaves. Lovely stuff.