Review: Roe Deers' relatively sparse discography to date is quietly impressive, with the pair flitting between mind-altering slow house, psychedelic electronic chuggers, and feverish fare rich in dense, tribal-influenced drums. The three original cuts showcased on the Lithuanian act's first Throne of Blood outing are similarly eccentric. Check first the weirdo guitars, dub disco bass, jumpy electronics and organic house drums of 'Lost Again', before examining the dark and driving creepiness of trippy throb-job 'Young Cats' and the filthy, arpeggio-driven intensity of brain-melting highlight 'Machine'. Remixes are provided of all three cuts, with Jonathan Kusuma's proto-house-goes-dark-disco rub of 'Machine', and Club Tularosa's Acid Arab-esque tweak of 'Young Cats' standing out.
Review: Greek duo Lagasta are up next on James Fucking Friedman's ever reliable Throne Of Blood label, following up that terrific 'Late Summer Compilation Vol.10' (Part II) they self-released just last month. The hazy downbeat balearica of "Steve" is exactly the kind of glassy-eyed and bittersweet music that the late Jose Padilla could have played at Cafe del Mar. It receives some brilliant remixes as part of the package. Mexican duo Zombies In Miami deliver a typically neon-lit rendition, while the mighty Philip Lauer delivers not one but two reworks: the first 'Sanguisuga' version was well on the money, and another fine example of the prolific German producer's idiosyncratic sound.
Review: Hardway Bros is Sean Johnston - DJ, producer and one half of A Love from Outer Space with Andrew Weatherall. He's fast become a staple of James 'Fucking' Friedman's Throne Of Blood imprint with his modern take on classic house music formulas. If it 'aint broke, dont fix it we say - Johnston's winning formula is on show once again with the heads-down acid wiggle of "Friedman Deeback Loop Revision" followed by the metal dance of "The Laser". Then, Maxime Pasquier (Sheik 'N' Beik/Kill The DJ) delivers a bleep nu-disco rendition of "Friedman Feedback Loop Revision" and final offering while "Afro Sirene" goes for a trippy and lo-slung Afro vibe.
The Voynich Manuscript (original mix) - (8:49) 123 BPM
The Voynich Manuscript (Cosmo Vitelli remix) - (7:25) 123 BPM
Review: German ambient musician Niklas Rehme-Schlueter began releasing music under the name Cass in 2012, creating loop-based compositions with pianos, strings, and other acoustic instruments, as well as field recordings. His new EP for James 'Fucking' Friedman's Throne Of Blood follows up a tremendous album with Dusseldorf's Wolf Muller and you can be sure that "Red Atlantic" is a blissful nu-gaze excursion following in the German tradition of Tangerine Dream, Ulrich Schnauss and Thorsten Quaeschning. The remix up next by man of the moment: Tel Tel Aviv's Autarkic takes it into exotic indie-dance territory and will appeal to fans of Multi Culti and I'm A Cliche. Speaking of which, the label boss of the latter Cosmo Vitelli delivers an absolutely electric remix of "The Voynich Manuscript" up next, which channels a gutsy EBM type of vibe which is in stark contrast to the dreamy and chilled-out balearica of the original.
Black Magic (The Golden Filter remix) - (5:46) 64 BPM
Black Magic (Pilooski remix) - (7:11) 105 BPM
Black Magic (Mutado Pintado remix) - (5:53) 67 BPM
Black Magic (instrumental) - (7:36) 67 BPM
Review: Kasper Bjorke and Colder's Black Magic EP is what James 'Fucking' Friedman's label describes as 'both brand new and like a return to something powerful, rooted in what came before'. Marc Nguyen Tan's post punk attitude and 'no wave skronk' was honed a long time ago, with a couple of genre-defying releases on Trevor Jackson's short lived Output imprint. Danish producer Kasper Bjorke has long been a fixture on Hamburg's HFN/Hafendisko imprints, in addition to his collaboration with homeboy and Whomadewho frontman Tomas Barfod in the Filur project. Their Black Magic EP now gets some great remixes by the Optimo Music affiliated Golden Filter - who turn in something much more introverted and texturised with their raw rendition of the track. Frenchman Pilooski (Dirty/RVNG Intl) gives it and woozy, spaced-out, Correspondant styled rendition for the afterhour. A gnarly techno version awaits your courtesy of Mutado Pintado of Paranoid London fame too: beware!
Review: Former Output man Marc Nguyen Tan has been pretty active since returning to production after a 10-year absence back in 2015. Here, his revival continues via a collaborative EP alongside similarly experienced Dane Kasper Bjorke. The headline attraction is undoubtedly "Black Magic", a sleazy and occasionally intense workout that wraps ragged acid lines, mind-altering electronics and hushed, new wave style vocals around a blistering post-punk drum pattern. The post-punk influences come to the fore on the decidedly fuzzy "101" and "Real Slow", which is thrillingly unusual and full of all manner of bizarre electronic flourishes and wayward saxophone solos. A couple of raw, stripped-back demo versions complete an impressive EP.
Review: This fine EP marks Luca "Curses" Venezia's return to Throne of Blood after a near three-year absence. Title track "Tutto Nudo" is something of a stylish, late night treat, with Venezia wrapping exotic, post-punk electric guitar melodies around a dark and sweaty nu-disco groove. The warped, late night haziness continues on the raw, sharp and throbbing "Canini", before Venezia drags us further into a rabbit warren of his own creation on the weird and wonderful thrust of "This is All a Dream". Those wanting something a little more bouncy and up-tempo should check Timothy 'Heretic' Clerkin's indie-disco style rub of "Tutto Nudo", while Dreems' deliciously low-slung, analogue-rich version of "Canini" is probably the EP's standout moment.
Review: James 'Fucking' Friedman reckons that in the three years since Moon Rock Volume 1 came out on his New York City based Throne Of Blood imprint, interest and attention in ambient and cosmic music has broadened and deepened. Well, hey that's a fair call and with Moon Rock Volume 4, the label is once again rounding up a shitload of weird-ass kosmische sounds. According to the label, the compilation was conceived in sides; six distinct sets of music that move through a range of styles and sounds, from chill ambient excursions to darker droning noise. Danny Passarella's imaginary soundtrack "Carousel Rising"is guided by a clever use of arpeggio, Tel Aviv indie dance hero Moscoman impresses as always with more cosmic weirdness on The Edge Of The Earth" while Versatile Records legend Gilb'r presents "Arpeggio Island"which doesn't need much explanation. London duo Vactrol Park impress as always with another deep vintage synth exploration on "Islands Of The Delta".
Review: During the early days of the nu-disco phenomenon, New York's Neurotic Drum Band were a go-to outfit for labels looking for a little dirty, mind-altering electronic disco fusion. Here, Elliot Taub and John Selway re-surface after a four-year absence, and this time they've got legendary Liquid Liquid member Sal Principato in tow. In its' original form, "Get Back Into Yourself" is deep and woozy, with subtle nods towards punk-funk and Metro Area amongst its' rich grooves and trippy vocals. The accompanying remix package is notably strong, and includes a 400 Blows-meets-acid house version from Tyler Pope, a sleazy, four-to-the-floor, weirdo house interpretation from Max McFerren, and a muscular, Italo-influenced dark-room rework by Eli Escobar.
Review: The legacy of Throne In Blood is certainly not insignificant in the annals of recent dance music history, but they're reaching into new ground with this series of compilations. The first two volumes of Moon Rock were already highly worthy of attention, and so it continues on this new installment, where further investigations of ambient, new age and downright mellow techno are brought together by a host of top shelf characters. Steve Moore opens up proceedings in suitably epic fashion, while elsewhere Tempelhof, Pittsburgh Track Authority and Tim Love Lee all excel in various shades of chill-out with guts.
King Of The Jungle (PBR Streetgang remix) - (7:58) 123 BPM
Review: With the Rapture on hiatus, drummer Vito Roccoforte and multi-instrumentalist Gabriel "Druzzi" Andruzzi have decided to strike out on their own. Here, they launch their Vito & Druzzi career with an EP of intense, woozy dark-house for the always intriguing Throne of Blood imprint. "Moon Temple" spits and drones from the speakers, layering Leftfield-ish electronics on top of a thunderous 4/4 groove. There's a little more bounce to the similarly bass-heavy but more obviously garage-influenced Curses Sewer dub (think Armand Van Helden's 'Dark Garage' mix of the Sneaker Pimps, and you're close), while "King of the Jungle" fuses wonky organs and horror-influenced textures with Chicago house drums. PBR Streetgang remix the latter track, turning it into a dark-but-fluid chunk of peak time house.
Review: After five years of party tomfoolery on Fool's Gold, Toronto duo JOTS level up with long awaited debut album, and it's a bit special. A joint release between New Kanada and Throne Of Blood, this expansive set shows the duo at their deepest, silkiest and most daring as we leap from vibe to vibe with emotive and perfectly executed consistency. The dreamy progressive pumps and euphoric charms of "Channels For Success", the innocent '80s synths of "This Is Newbeat", the mischievous uptempo video game drama of "Hunk Of Punk"... JOTS have gone in deep and invested technically, emotionally and creatively on this debut album. This isn't the end, it's the beginning of a whole new chapter. Stunning.
Review: Newcomers Pleasure Planet are an interesting proposition. Made up of Populette's Andrew Potter and muso pal Brian Hersey, they jam live with guitars, bass, synth and analogue electronics, then piece together the resultant grooves. It's a way of working that's certainly paid dividends on this debut EP for Throne of Blood, which boasts a trio of spacious, leftfield house cuts. "Animals", featuring typically stylish vocals from former Hercules & Love Affair member Kim-Ann Foxman, is arguably the highlight, thanks mainly to its early New Order-meets-deep house vibe. That said, the dreamy, low-slung and hazily atmospheric bonus cuts "AM ATM" and "Black Shades for White Nights" are also pretty tasty.
Monty Luke - "Behavior Detection" - (6:21) 121 BPM
Pixelife - "Five Month Survey" - (9:39) 120 BPM
Pixelife - "The Doctor Is Out" - (5:33) 122 BPM
Review: NYC label Throne Of Blood pay tribute to Monty Luke's Black Catalogue by inviting the chieftain himself and label-mates the Carter Bros to curate the A-side of their latest release, Throne Of Black Catalogue. The Carters provide a tunnelling, and at times progressive "Jamaica Burning" (version 2)", while Luke supplies a fuzzy-keyed, snare popping burner with "Behaviour Detection" - a track which sounds like a well behaved Kyle Hall. Horn Wax's Pixelife then delivers two tracks, with "5 Month Survey" fit for any jacking Ibiza dancefloor; "The Doctor Is Out" stays in the jacking zone too - with its marching snares, there's an added triumphant italo aspect.
Review: Chloe is one of Europe's finest female house/techno DJs, and this has been the case for the past ten years. Sadly, she does not get as much recognition as some of her peers. Maybe this is because she prefers to focus on making and playing great underground dance music, but whatever the explanation, her talents shine through on Smash. The title track is a murky affair, drones and dubbed out sirens rising through the rickety rhythm, while "Time Right" shows a lighter side to Chloe. Over a rolling bassline, a breathy vocal is interspersed with cut-up tones to create an insistent but playful sound. Phil Kieran's take on "Smash" leads it to a darker place, while My Favourite Robot's version is all bouncing basslines and trippy pulses.
Review: LA electro-funk duo Split Secs let loose with two new original compositions. As with their previous works, there's a gossamer shine and breezy feel to both cuts. "The Joint" is reminiscent of In Flagranti or The Revenge with more emphasis on the shiny top-end while "Funkin Power" has more of a powerful jack factor with plenty of acid. For added darkness check out Maxime's bulbous remix of "Funkin Power".
Review: Making his second appearance on Throne Of Blood after last year's Inside Job, veteran producer Brendan Moeller returns as Beat Pharmacy for Tricks of the Trade. "Sometimes I'm Happy" is a laid back trip through trilling sounds, dubby piano chords and thick bass, while "Jive At Five" takes things up a notch with its twitchy synths and skipping beats. Analogues Anonymous takes things on more of a late night classic NYC deep house tip albeit with a considerable dose of dark atmospherics, while the largely beatless "Holy Stain" lightens the mood with its drifting chords and analogue chirps. Digital bonus "Magic & Luck" is probably the most floor-focused thing here, a stripped back tool filled with abstract tones and percolating textures.
Review: Sean Johnston's Hardway Bros aligns on the Throne Of Blood label with some rare original produce in the shape of A/B Musique, a killer single brandishing some assistance from fellow Axis members Scott Fraser and Timothy J Fairplay. Eschewing the Balearic nature of previous Hardway Bros material, the title track is geared as homage to Belgian New Beat and hits the spot as soon as those hollow drums kick into gear. The aforementioned Mr Fairplay provides some punk funk swagger via intermittent guitar riffage and the vibe throughout is geared towards interplanetary love parties. On the virtual flip, "Shorty" feels a bit darker, with tough multi layered drum breaks and fuzzy edged arpeggiated bass lines gradually teasing out a seemingly never ending fluctuating precession of delay laden acid lines and swirling hypnotic vocal smudges. Scott Fraser turns in a murky basement remix of "Shorty" which is tinged with a machine made melancholia that tastes decidedly Detroitian.
Review: Despite the morbidity of it's name, Vosper & Bozzwell's "Music For The Lost And Dead" is a stepped-down, ice-cool electro/techno power ballad, complete with faltering vocals and even a tinge of disco rattling through the intro. Eskimo Twins enjoy their acid youth with viscous synths tipping the track into harder, darker territories where Jonny Cruz decides what's needed is low down dirty dubs and the type of club jangle you only get from hard liquor. Bringing the feel back to electro basics, Matt Walsh echoes 2006 in his hypnotic rendition and finally Fingerprince adds a depth and melancholy that only he could. An intriguing release from Throne Of Blood, definitely worth a look-in.
Review: The not so mysterious Bohemian Groove debut fully on Throne Of Blood after hinting at their taste for psychedelic disco with a DJ Druzz vs. Omega Mus remix for the NYC imprint last year. On their original track "High Jinks" and its moodier counterpart "Low Jinks", broad brushstrokes of synth are the order of the day, letting the percussion shake seductively in the background while the melody intones an emotionally rich message of soul-replenishing dance music. Versatile Records main man Gilb'r brings a more dramatic, 70s library music vibe to bear on his "Hunting" remix of "High Jinks", while Portugese duo Photonz' delve into a nagging broken beat techno roller of magnificent proportions.