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: 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: 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: 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.
Review: French duo Composer take "Check Chuck", one of the standout tracks from their recent album The Edges Of The World, and employ some diverse talent to provide dramatic remixes. First up is Hemlock alumni Breton, who take time out from recording their forthcoming album to take the sweet pop sensibilities of the original and infuse it with some synth-heavy bass-driven punch and minimal dubstep rhythms. Anna Meredith meanwhile provides a remix of organic shoegaze, but perhaps the pick of the bunch is Monokle's sublime reworking which has all the grand scale of M83's finest works.
Review: Clearly a band switched on to interesting electronic producers, Cubenx have put together this single release to get their washed-out indie pop refigured by a diverse pair of remixers. Downliners Sekt take the New Order meets My Bloody Valentine of the original track and pitches it down. Bright and breezy synths get replaced with languid string samples, reverbed percussion and a slow-release beat akin to the Mount Kimbie school of half step. T. Williams does the complete opposite, instantly pumping elements of the original through an uptempo house cut. It's sleekly crafted 4/4 for that perfect blissed out moment in a peak time set.
Review: Mexican producer Cubenx echoes pioneering countryman Murcof in creating dazzling electronica and affecting beats on this latest album, On Your Own Again. The Lone-esque tech-jumble of "Adrift At Sea", the icy and minimal "Lovebirds" and the deep, beatless Animal Collective-recalling "Mist Over The Lake" all stand out, but there's truly unique production and wide-eyed arrangements at every turn on this impressive release.