Paul Woolford's second album under the Special Request alias is a very different beast to its predecessor, 2013's Soul Music. While that was little less than a strobe-fired romp through Woolford's early, rave-era influences, Belief System is an altogether more complex and considered affair. With 23 tracks, the album took three years to produce, contains a number of modular hardware explorations, and features elements of tracks recorded by Woolford as far back as 1993. The sheer breadth and depth of the material is, at times, staggering, as the veteran Leeds producer giddily mixes and matches elements of electro, techno, cinematic soundtracks, hardcore, acid, jungle and experimental electronica. In a word: stunning.
The final part of Dark Entries' long-running series of archival Patrick Cowley releases showcases tracks originally recorded for Afternooners, a late '70s gay porn film by director John Coletti. As with previous Cowley releases on Dark Entries, the double album also contains previously unheard material rediscovered from the Fox Studio archives. It's another essential collection of atmospheric synthesizer music in the producer's distinctive style, all told, with tracks ranging from the whistling cheeriness of "Hot Beach" and the sparkling, cowbell-laden throb of "One Hot Afternoon" to the dubbed-out, semi-ambient dreaminess of "Bore & Stroke" and the humid, upbeat "Jungle Orchid".
The sixth release of Amsterdam record label Safe Trip brings together a few dozen ambient tracks from Japanese twin brothers Satoshi & Makoto from Kawasaki. The whole album's beats, melodies and musical phrases come from the Casio Cz-5000: which gives the record its name. Label chief Young Marco discovered their music via YouTube videos, which the two musicians had recorded in order to illustrate the possibilities of the aforementioned instrument and most of the material was said to be influenced by acts like The Orb and Yellow Magic Orchestra. According to the label, it is largely of an ambient nature, positive mood and possibly alien origin.
Bill Kouligas' always unpredictable PAN imprint brings forth some cutting edge experimental electronics once again in the form of Erik Wiegand aka Errorsmith. Solo artist, a member of MMM and half of Smith 'n Hack in addition to producing some amazing musical software for Native Instruments. Superlative Fatigue is his first album in 13 years and reflects this tension between over-the-top/hysterical emotions, against more deeply felt expressions of realness. Wiegand has stated that it is a rather accessible and cheerful collection of tracks, compared to his usual work; going from 'ridiculously cheerful' but sincere and emotional all the same. From the broken, tongue in-cheek party techno of "I'm Interesting, Cheerful & Sociable" to the blunted and computerised hip-hop of "Retired Low-Level Internal Server" or the downright indescribable weirdness of "Internet Of Screws" it's all in all a pretty compelling listen.
Is it justified to say that pretty much every release on Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder is a total winner? We like to think so. Lapalux aka Stuart Howard returns to the mighty imprint with this new extended EP, a five-track voyage into the unknown, aptly names The End Of Industry. Where does it go from here? Are we destined to be slaves of AI into the distant future? These are the sorts of questions and visions that emanate from this striking piece of work. Vast landscapes of electronics paint a desolate yet rich picture of the future, and we're wondering why Lapalux wasn't called up to orchestrate some of the soundtrack from the Blade Runner 2049. Highly recommended.
Hailing from the fertile community they have built up around them in Bucharest, Delusion Men and their label Future Nuggets represent a very different twist on the contemporary Romanian electronic music scene. This album is a prime case in point, dealing in off-kilter wavey synths, intriguing rhythmic approaches and spooked out atmospheres that speak as much to the folkloric mystery of the East as any electronic traditions from other parts of the world. If you're drawn to music that sends you to exotic new places on the fringes of your imagination, then Stuck On The Border is the album for you.
Leeds based K-Lone is back with a great one on DJ Parris' Soundman Chronicles after releases on Wych, Wisdom Teeth and Badimup. The dark ambient intro to "Old Fashioned" is quite the way to build the suspense and tension, until the slow motion beat drops beneath all the dubbed out industrial textures. Next up, the deep dubstep on "In The Dust Of This Planet" takes a turn for the esoteric (and almost beatless) on this fantastically immersive piece. Finally, the O$VMV$M (did we get that right?) remix up next is reminiscent of early Burial: lo-fi/sci-fi dystopian vibes that are perfect mood lighting for that stoned journey home on the nightbus on a Sunday evening. Great stuff here following up some great releases on the label by Rabit, Etch and Wen.
Visionist aka Louis Carnell is off to stardom with this new album, his second to date, after a debut LP for PAN back in 2015. All nice and hyp-like. Big Dada is the label this time, a London unit belonging to Ninja Tune and who have been responsible for the early works of peeps like Wiley. They've clearly decided to head out onto more experimental pastures over recent years, and Value seems to be a perfect representation of where they stand now in terms of sound. The ten-track LP is sparse and loose across all its borders, but the one factor uniting all of its leftifled glory is a sense of coldness. Tunes like "Homme", which are relatively beatless, still have much in common with the likes of "Made In Hope" or "High Life" - the vivid sense of frost binds them together to form one glacial piece of music from the future. Angelic and demonic all at once.
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!
Acid Pauli and Nico Stojan's label presents the original film score and soundtrack for the new German film 'Once upon a time there was Indian's Land' which is centred around 12 brand new songs by Acid Pauli aka Martin Gretschmann (The Notwist, Console) who plays a central role via his close collaboration with director Ilker Catak. Gretschmann's music is eclectic and adventurous. from dystopic, carnivalesque moods via moments of high intensity to deep melancholia and fragile atmosphere - boundaries are being teared down. Sometimes psychedelic and far out, sometime focused, catchy with one eye for the dancefloor: but never predictable. The soundtrack is a mixture of his old and new tracks plus music of artists that he works with.
On the debut album of Aparde (aka Paul Camillo Rachel), he certainly took his liberties in regard to his musical output. He consciously limited and aligned this series of songs which originated between the end of 2015 and mid 2016. Each one is said to have gone through a lengthy process of development. The album was finalized in early summer of 2017, in an old cottage upon a lake in the north of Germany. Featuring lead single "Mouth", the album as a whole is sombre yet wholly evocative and features even more stunning highlights. From the dramatic opener "Siren" which sounds like freefall in motion, the jagged "North" which is reminiscent of a Life & Death style journey track that's been deconstructed, plus the lush deep house of "Sand" which provides an adequate momentum at a time when the LP benefits from it.
Commonly found lurking around L.I.E.S., Technicolour and W.T. Records, Florian Kupfer has plenty of credentials in the noisier end of the hardware house and techno scene, so it makes perfect sense to find him sidling up to Valcron Video in collaborative moder with Torn Hawk. The results are predictably excellent, from the gnarled emotional wrangles of "Fake Blood" to the blown out ambience of "Hungry For Candy". "Sweet Tooth" comes on like a dishevelled club workout, and then "Manipulation" rounds the record off with a tongue in cheek spoken word and ambience piece that packs some serious music underneath the irreverent chit chat.
Dogs & Vultures records is an underground music label based in Madrid, managed by Vicente Garcia and Esther C. They return with their second release, after their impressive Compilation Vol.1, and this time it is the turn of Petroza aka Antoniadis Petros, a Greek producer and DJ based in Thessaloniki. The noir electronics of "Endoscopy" is the kind of indie-dance for nu-goths that we're really digging at the moment, in the vein of Red Axes, Fantastic Twins or Curses. There's some great remixes included by Monoblok and FK Club. Second original offering "Agoraphobia" is a lo-slung and psychedelic cosmic trip, geared for some real drifting on the dancefloor. It too gets a couple of fine makeovers but for us it was all about Did Virgo's funky and neon-lit nu-disco remix.