Reviewed this week
Lauer and Gerd Janson's Tuff City Kids project has been revered for their signature sound that has made them the current toast of the house music scene - neon-lit classic analogue sounds that are evocative enough to be featured on a John Hughes movie soundtrack - if they could go back in a time machine. On the face of it, you'd be surprised by their remix choices: for example Marcel Dettmann? Rest assured they're in good hands here with the Berghain resident - whose recent exploits have also been invested in the early industrial sounds of the '80s recently and that's really evident on his rendition of "Scared". Likewise, fellow Berghain regular and Hotflush boss Scuba dons his more nefarious SCB guise on a perspective of "Nordo", creating a seething and mental warehouse techno jam to lead in to the peak time. Elsewhere, Roman Fluegel impresses as always with his slinky and hypnotic rework of "R-Mancer" while Permanent Vacation boss Benjamin Froelich delivers not one but two remixes of "Tell Me" featuring Hot Chip's Joe Goddard.
UK electronica legend Mark Pritchard returns with his new album The Four Words, further exploring the sonic worlds first encountered on his 2016's album Under The Sun - which featured guests such as Thom Yorke. Once again, he collaborates extensively with acclaimed visual artist Jonathan Zawada, who made a 13-minute film to go along with the LP. The visual element builds on the imagined worlds the duo created previously. A collection of eight lush electronic landscapes featuring collaborations with veteran Gregory Whitehead and The Space Lady aka Susan Dietrich the San Francisco, based outsider artist.
Music From Memory's last epic compilation, 2017's Outro Tempo, did a terrific job in uncovering the dusty, rarely visited corners of Brazilian electronic music. Uneven Paths offers a similar service to those interested in the eccentric, often inspired fringes of European pop music. Of course, compilers Jamie Tiller and Raphael Top-Secret are not interested in run-of-the-mill or commercial synth-pop, but rather "deviant pop" - melodious, left-of-centre curiosities that some may describe as "Balearic". This is pop music from the outer limits, where tracks variously draw influence from spoken word, global rhythms, post-punk fusion, jazz, new age ambient and kosmiche. It goes without saying that the crate-digging duo's selections are spot on throughout, with genuine surprises around every corner.
Honey Soundsystem's Dezier comes correct with this immaculately detailed debut album. From the circuit board presentation to the album narrative itself Parler Music is a lavish affair that stretches the perception of everything we've learnt about him on labels such as Cin Cin, HNYTRX and Public Release. Back again on Dark Entities (where it all began for this alias five years ago) Parler Music is a fluorescent romp through tempos and emotions; the white knuckle synthwave of "Un Subalterne Insubordonne", the iced-out electro of "Teleconference", the sleazy off-beat slinks and triumphant chords of "Entr'acte", the pregnant cosmosis of "Une Salade Oblongue", the list of immersive synthscapes and stories goes on. A genuinely beautiful debut album.
After a recent string of EPs and mini LPs, it's a pleasure to hear Biosphere's tantalizing drones and ambient loops across two full tracks. The Hilvarenbeek Recordings are the perfect encapsulation of the man's sound and vision, forever iterating his subtle sounds to paint rich and vivid portrays of the world and of his surroundings. The new LP, much like his best material to date, comes to life thanks to the amalgamation of field recordings, raw talent, and a pensive outlook on the world. A constant thirst for applying sound to vision, and vision to sound. Wonderful, as always, and utterly recommended.
Susanne Kirchmayr, or Electric Indigo as she's been known since the early 90s, is a German house and techno producer, DJ, and personality. All in all, she's one of the greats and, over the years, has always been supported from artists like Berlin's DJ Hell and, more recently, Berghain's Ostgut Ton label in what has been a bit of a revival from her. 511593 is Indigo's debut album, and it comes through via Monolake's Robert Henke, whose label Imbalance Computer Music is stronger, and more relevant, than ever. Unlike what we're usually accustomed to from the German artist, the music on this LP is wild and arid, often with no beats or traditional structure to hold the oddities in place. Instead, we're immersed in a fuzzy, digital world of rapacious sonics that do their best to seep through the cracks and spaces left open between tracks. In fact, this is more of a live session, where every tune is connected by distortion and electronic manipulation. Recommended.
Japanese female vocalist Hatis Noit makes her debut on Erased Tapes with four meandering waves of classicaly-minded electronica. Her masterful art begins with the wailing vocals and background glitch of "Angelus Novus", followed by an FX-filtered swarm of angelic coral hymns on "Anagram C.I.Y"...the one like AFX comes immediately to mind. The "illogical Lullaby" is all placid tones and voices floating in mid-air, filling the atmosphere with Noit's almost religious chanting; the remix comes from Matmos, beautifully merging half-step beats and broken melodies into the equation. What a blast, what an experience.
Here's an EP that'll appeal to those who place a value on a freeform approach towards electronic music. Lord Pusswhip is an Icelandic artist whose work eschews convention in favour of something more experimental. "Xmas Jam Creep" is a dense, dark drum'n'bass meets abstract electronic workout, while on "Crazy Shit Mane", he uses dreamy codas and lucid, spoken-word samples to make the break beats sound less intense. "Hop Out The Car" marks a change in style, as an electronic disco groove is led by doubled up claps to a gloomy denouement. "The Hand of Glory" sees another artistic jump, with the good lord favouring breaky electro. The dreamy ambient of "Green House Living" rounding off this unusual EP.
Italian production pair Hiver specialise in blurring the boundaries between deep house and techno, audible on a string of acclaimed EPs for Vidab and Curle. Now they make their debut on Obscura and a similar approach applies. Both "Inverted Scale" and "RJ45" are driving but tranced out affairs, while at the other end of the spectrum, there's the glorious ambience of the title track and "Glass Effect". Both arrangements have a depth and atmospheric sensibility rarely heard in modern electronic music. Orbe is given the challenging task of reworking "Spiritual Machines", but succeeds in turning it into a rolling house workout. It's another deep masterclass from Hiver.
Over the last decade, Kenneth James Gibson has released a vast amount of music under an equally vast number of aliases and side projects. The output under his own name is reserved for the minimal-leaning, downtempo-swaying side of the house and techno spectrum, delivering new and refreshing loops that push further than the material we're now usually accustomed to. In fact, In The Fields Of Nothing, out through Cologne's infamous Kompakt unit, delivers a soothing blend of lounge-tinted beats and atmospherics, guided by the distant yet present embrace of house music. A delight.
Borusiade is the alter ego of Miruna Boruzescu, who has released Eps on Cititrax and Comeme. A Body, his debut album, gives full vent to his artistic palette. It starts with the slow motion clatter of "Cluster" before moving into the mesmerising Gothic vocals of "Breathe". The tempo picks up somewhat with the dense, bubbling "Dormant", where Boruzescu indulges his love of mysterious electronic music. On both "Silent" and "An Aquarian Feeling", the Romanian producer moves into a world of lo-fi rhythms and drones, one that Sandra Electronics occupies, but showing his diverse approach to composition right to the end, "Undone" is a lush, orchestral affair.
Up until now, Brett Naucke's output has been mainly reserved for limited cassette releases that are arguably as impenetrable as his selection of drones and synth wizardry. That is all changing thanks to this new mini-LP for the excellent Spectrum Spools, home other outsiders such as Container, to name a particularly daring artist. The Mansion is a delightful bric-a-brac of field recordings and glitchy noise infusions, collated and polished off by rhythmic flows of all things surreal. While much of this release is as loose as ever, it's bound together by a clear vision, and a message which will resonate with listeners outside of the usual drone circles. Majestic and ethereal, this really is a treat for the senses. Recommended!
Tel-Aviv's Asef Samuel and Katzele have been progressing their Malka Tuti label in a stunning manner, bringing plenty of new talents and exciting new sounds to the foray, ranging from house to electro and even onto starry cold-wave. Xen & Yovam are back together for this latest EP, with both artists already having appeared on the label. "Hayom Etmol" is the dance number, spear-headed by deep, growling synths and a mechanical beat structure, while "Shavit" borrows much more from new age and neo-romance, offering a truly sensual episode of Israeli electronica.
Much like imprints cuh as In Paradisum a few years back, the Leyla imprtin is killing it on the space that resides between house, techno and noise, with artists from all three disciplines working together for a sound that is both unique to the label and highly representative of the times we're living in. It's a various artists compilation this time around, with names like Mondkopf, Codex Empire, Von Grall and Manni Dee all bursting through the speakers with their inimitably tenebrous approach to crafting dark, underground industrial music with a techno edge. Although you'll undoubtedly be peddled some hyped releases from other labels, you should not walk away from here without having listened to this because, in our opinion, this is the cr?me-de-la-cr?me right now. Sick.
FRANZ FALCKENHAUS - Tupolev System (Giallo Disco)
DE AMBASSADE - Wat Voel Je Nou (Knekelhuis) - exclusive 14-03-2018