Review: Andrea, Fedele and Luigi are Agents Of Time and they are back after a succession of wonderful releases on their Obscura imprint with this debut here for Cologne institution Kompakt. The label has never been shy of exploring the enigmatic fringes of disco (in their own distinct way) and the Pugliese trio follow this convention by heading into galactic territory on the 'Music Made Paradise' EP. Soar up high, deep into the stratosphere on the cosmic euphoria of "Drive Me Crazy" complete with classic vocoder lyrics, then carrying on with the rich Italian tradition of electronic disco sounds on the bittersweet dancefloor drama of "Under Control" awash in lush synth textures and hypnotic arpeggios galore. Finally the moody night drive of "Interstate 10" is indeed a dark one, but stylishly illuminated with neon flourishes.
Run Away From The Sun (instrumental) - (6:30) 120 BPM
Review: Matias Aguayo returns to the warm bosom of Cologne's Kompakt label - the imprint on which he first made his name - for his first outing of 2014. The typically atmospheric Legende is not a great departure musically - his usual skewed pop, minimal techno, subtle new wave guitars, fuzzy electronica and woozy ambient influences are all present and correct - but it is decidedly impressive (thanks, in no small part, to his mastery of mood and melody). The title track impresses with its' fluttering, glitchy approach, while "Run Away From The Sun" recalls his early material on Kompakt Pop. Best of all, though, is "Lola in the City", a decidedly off-kilter fusion of traditional Chilean instrumentation, spacey bleep melodies and a scratchy, loose-sounding groove.
Review: London based, Polish artist ANII returns to Kompakt, following up last year's brilliant Korzenie EP in addition to a remix for veteran label staple Gui Boratto. She demonstrates her passion of music through deep, dark techno and soulful house once again on her new offering for the Cologne based institution: From the slow-motion hypnotic raindance of "Ride The Tiger", through to moments right in line with the Kompakt sound as heard on the deep acid/electro influence of "Aniitime" or the evocative and glassy-eyed dancefloor drama of "Galaxianii" - yes as you can see, it's all in the name!
Review: Named after the Polish word for 'roots', this great new EP finds Anii threading her way in between subtle deep house and techno folds. Polish music, tribal percussion and elegiac melodies merge wonderfully. Born in Poland and now operating out of London, Ania Iwinska has had previous releases on top labels like Stil Vor Talent, Polymath and Sincopat, but now makes her debut on Cologne powerhouse Kompakt. From the chugging, brooding dancefloor drama of "Working The Root" that will hypnotise you into submission, to the tension and full-on suspense of the title track. Be assured that more late night moodiness awaits on "Cyganka" incorporating traditional strings and Ry Cooder like guitars on this hazy and esoteric trip into the deep.
Review: Moscow based producer Anton Kubikov is one of the key figures of the Russian electronic music scene. His recent dub techno exploits have been heard on local labels like Heisenberg and his own Pro-tez imprint. Kubikov's relationship to Kompakt extends years back, when his SCSI-9 project (with Maxim Milyutenko) made its debut and has since several releases for the label thus far. It's a predominantly atmospheric affair on his new LP entitled Whatness. The slightly Italo tainted horror soundtracks of "Liquid Mirror" or the title track soon give way to seductive soundscapes of "Other The Sea" which wouldn't have sounded out of place on one of the label's famed Pop Ambient collections while tracks like "Kurt's Forest" or "April" have that Balearic tinged style of chill-out about them that will appeal to fans of International Feel or Music From Memory. Elsewhere the modern classical bliss piece "Pia" is quite a gorgeous moment but he saves the best for last on the mesmerising shoegaze style drones of "Entrance"
Review: At first listen, Abaporu sounds decidedly underwhelming. This album after all, is from the same artist who created the dreamy indie-techno of "Beautiful Life". However, it gradually emerges that the Brazilian artist has merely opted for a more subtle approach. Granted, "Antropofagia" is leaner and meaner than most of his club tracks, while the titles track also favours a stripped back, banging approach. Like his previous albums, Boratto can't resist a good melody or the temptation to work in some rich guitar chords. Take one listen to the sassy party house of "Get The Party Started" and the shimmering guitars and keyboards of "Where I Belong" if you're in any doubt of his talents.
Review: Call it Latin spirit or put it down to his special talent, but there is no doubt that Gui Borratto has a knack for crafting irresistible, melodic dance music. The Brazilian producer's own 2012 version of "End" is a seductive affair, with the effortlessly sexy, drawling female vocal unfolding over an alluring live bassline. It sounds like what would have happened if My Bloody Valentine had ditched their guitars after Glider and gorged themselves on pure MDMA. Kompakt boss Michael Mayer's version is a pure club affair, with the melodies unfolding over a typical Cologne shuffle. Ame push the boat out with their 10-minute version ambling through a stop-start rhythm.
Review: As far as album titles go, III isn't imaginative, but it is Boratto's most diverse album. There are still traces of the Brazilian producer's sound of yore, especially on "Stems From Hell", where a mournful melody is expertly teased and played out over a minimal groove or on the grainy, fist-pumping bassline of "The Drill". For the most part though, it marks a departure for him. "Galuchat" is an excellent low-slung, atmospheric house track, "The Third" sounds like his attempt to make an ambient lullaby and at the other end of the emotional spectrum is "Striker" a Gothic, rumbling bass workout. Best of all though is album closer "This Is Not The End": featuring Luciana Villanova on vocals, it's a beautiful indie song -surely it'll guarantee Boratto his deserved place in the pop charts?
Review: Regular roamer around the Kompakt savannah Gui Boratto drops some more of that upfront tech-house business, rendered crisp and punchy by the lofty production values and hitting all the right buttons for a release that is likely to rock many a sizable crowd. "Too Late" is a slow burning number with a throbbing electro bassline and female vocal hooks, ably slipping into more techy terrain where needed but always shot through with a poppy sensibility. "We Can Go" again brings a touch of pop to proceedings but more in an '80s new wave vein, with the ominous vocals and dark synth lines working wonders on creating an edgy atmosphere.