Review: Barely two months have passed since the release of Bawrut's excellent 4x4 EP, but already Ransom Note is serving up a remixed version. Philip Lauer naturally impresses with a typically loved-up, melodious and glassy-eyed dancefloor rework of "I Hear Voices" that's as Balearic as they come, while psychedelic disco sort Timothy Clerkin re-casts the same track as an acid-fired ambient trip rich in hallucinatory electronics. Elsewhere, Jimpster surprisingly doffs his cap to Gieorgio Moroder on a druggy, arpeggio-driven re-make of "More Cowbell", Sano lays down a low-slung, Afro-tinged jack-track take on "Ghettoscar" and Lossy's remix of "Three Sounds" joins the dots between bass-heavy bleep-era electro and shimmering Balearic house. Arguably best of all though, is the epic, rush-inducing positivity of Marlon Hoffstadt's "Aloe Vera Mix" of "More Cowbell".
Review: London based online magazine The Ransom Note launched their record label back in early 2016 and are now onto their tenth release. They continue their search for the finest dance music around the globe and serve up a 'carnival-ready curveball' here with 'the sleazy, Ghanaian Afro-Ghetto-Techno-Pop that is Bryte's word-of-mouth classic' entitled "I Like Your Girlfriend". Originally surfacing on YouTube dance videos, the low quality video rip of Bryte's 'bizarre' lyrics over Gafacci's grime/afro house beat has been popular with tastemakers such as Bok Bok, Mixpak and Gang Fatale. Coming from Accra's Azonto dance scene, where tracks are produced in makeshift home studios then swapped through social media apps on smartphones,this track has long remained a holy grail. The label claim that this is quite possibly the first Azonto track to be released on vinyl!
Review: Chloe Raunet has really come into her own since departing from London electro-punks Battant several years back - the trio she fronted with Crimes Of The Future's Timothy J. Fairplay and the sadly departed Joel Dever. As C.A.R, the Canadian chanteuse has delivered several releases on Paris based Kill The DJ (including an impressive EP with Tel Aviv indie-dance heroes Red Axes) and now her third LP Pinned - but this time for London's Ransom Note. Naturally, the remixes compilation is titled Pinned Up and features the current creme de la creme in electronic music. From Kompakt co-head Michael Mayer's uplifting and pop-inflected house rebdition of "This City" (which also received a super makeover by Man Power which was a standout), to the Innvervsions affiliated Macrus Worgull's tunnelling and hypnotic renditon of "Cholera" and disco underdog Jonny Rock's Thisisfreakinglongbutwherethefuckismybreakdownremix of "Strange Ways" which does exactly what it says on the tin.
Review: Hotlanta's Ryan Parks a.k.a. Fit Of Body up next on Ransom Note. Five woozy original tracks jammed out on second hand drum machines, bass guitar, cheap mics and creaking synths, this is techno as it was first imagined; raw machine soul made for strange times and unknown futures. Serving up a nice EP here with some deep and sexy house on "56K" while dreamy lo-fi business follows on the sublime analogue haze of "RTTRAP/DIE". There's even a lovely vocal number in the form of "ATT (Since)" which is a dead giveaway of his R&B past we must say.
Review: Ransom Note has commissioned remixes of some of the highlights from James Cooke aka Graintable's 2019 Universal Ash long player. Timothy Clerkin's take on "Tidewater", with its detuned melodies and stepping rhythm, reflects the raw, hardware-driven approach that is central to Cooke's own production approach. Meanwhile, on the reshaped "Dark Surface", another Ransom Note regular, Flug 8, delivers a tripped out linear techno groove that builds and builds into swirling melody arcs. In contrast, Hologram Teen's take on "Tea Forest" is a frenetic, energetic workout, based on a post-punk rhythm and lo-fi synth riffs while Coast2c's take on "FMMPC" is a multi-layered ambient piece.
Review: What we have here is a fantastic solo album from Morgan Lhote, who's best known as the former keyboard player from Stereolab. The only thing that's particularly 'Stereolab-y' about her Hologram Teen output, though, is a desire to experiment, with tracks ranging from fairly straight-up disco-house ('Dalston Wizardzz') to out-there, arryhthmic synth experiments ('Cosmogatto'), via electronic alt-folk-hop ('Africountry'), smoky leftfield jazz-fusion ('Pharoah For President'), Afro-futurist pastiche ('Okandjambameya'), looping, tripped-out soundtrack vibes ('Move On Hop!', 'Toast, Marmite & Crack') and more. Interesting stuff, though it might take a few listens to really sink in...
Review: Marlon Hoffstadt is a Berlin based producer who's sure come a long way since his debut on local labels Stil Vor Talent and Keno; he now heads up the Retrograde and Midnight Themes imprints. For the new label of UK music website Ransom Note, he presents some lush retro referencing house on the Observing The Known EP. Starting off with the classic acid house vibe of "Floating" which is reminiscent of 808 State, we've then got the bouncy neon-lit sound of "ARP+" which gets a very Jamal Moss sounding remix on the flip by London based Scott Fraser (Crimes Of The Future). The balearic/tropical vibe continues on the sun-kissed and blissed out "Batavus" and we particularly enjoyed that chunky Juno bassline throughout.
Review: While Ransom Note has built up its credentials with years of quality music and culture editorial, they've truly shaped up to be a wonderful label, too. Constantly bringing new artists to the foray, this latest EP from debutant Mother Of Mars is yet another sublime new addition to a sparkling catalogue of outsider dance music and sci-fi ambient. "Hera In The Valley" is all about the synth rolling, creating a dense and introspective groove out of sparse percussion and wondrous droning - a perfect track for anyone who like to travel to the other side of the moon. "Seed 2 Sky", the title track, is a much deeper affair, subtly morphing and twisting its synths into a slo-mo sort of balearica that will undoubtedly appeal to the hardcore drone fanatics. An ambient tip for you...
Review: The London based producer Heretic returns with this great EP. With releases on hot imprints such as Relish, Days of Being Wild, Nein and My Favourite Robot, he is on fire at the moment! The brilliant opener "Recursive" is classic house at its finest, with rave organs and hip-house breakbeats: not to mention that 'druggy' sampled dialogue over the top. Very cheeky! Next up is the title track which is a slow burning and tunnelling 303 acid trip. It also uses some sharp breakbeats to great effect but in more subtle fashion. Then there is a remix from Berlin's Marlon Hoffstadt of "Recursive". This is a much more uptempo and euphoric rendition, which again channels the classic vibes from yesteryear to sunning effect.
Review: To do their bit to support artists during the lockdown, music website Ransom Note has put together this compilation, with sees the participating artists receiving much welcomed support. It starts with left of centre post-punk sounds from Malcolm and Funderground, before moving into the gritty, lo-fi house groove of Local Suicide & Thomas Jackson's "Hit & Miss". On "Like To Lie", R Elizabeth & Burko conjure up a jittery electro track, while Bawrut's "Triangulo De Amor Bizarro" sees the compilation descend into low-slung jacking techno, accompanied by Chico Blanco's sleazy vocals. Otik & Tom VR's "Poly Echo 97", which is supported by broken beats and features eerie textures.