Reviewed this week
Laurel Halo's latest release was apparently inspired by her recent film score work for Amsterdam-based arts collective Metahaven. Certainly, it's a largely becalmed and beguiling collection, experimental in ethos but also cinematic in tone. It contains a sextet of instrumental pieces that vary in style and tone from the loopy, otherworldly creepiness of "The Sick Mind" and droning "Supine", where ambient chords and manipulated cello notes combine to create a druggy soundscape, to the slowly unfurling, widescreen epics that open and close the mini-album. These, particularly "Raw Silk Uncut Wood" are intensely picturesque and beautiful, with Halo subtly shifting between epic ambient passages and the kind of sweeping, string-laden musical movements that mark out the finest cinematic compositions.
Osaka's GROUND is no newcomer to the world of experimental electronics, with the artist's last official EP having come out all the way back in 1995 as a self-releases 7" on the forever-defunct 595-76-8239 Music. Sunizsm is his debut LP, with a few of these tunes already out in the last few months on separate EPs, each one of them backed by a series of killer remixes, of course. The LP as a whole, however, is a startling beauty, dipping and diving from dance music to the abstract, rich in Ground's Japanese aesthetics. "Logos", one of the tracks released already, is a tripping bundle of percussion and Eastern vocal chops and, among our other favourites on here, there's also the off-kilter chimes of "Hanasai", the moody bass tones of "Feel It", and the hypnotic journey that is "Sunizsm" itself. House-not-house for the DJ-not-DJs.
Holland's EOD drops his first studio album, Named, on the ever-impressive bbbbbb imprint, each respective party rarely failing to deliver quality dance vibes, whether that's d&b, electro, or some straight-up tech-gabber. Well, the truth is that there's a bit of each of those elements on this LP and, much like the pioneering styles of artists like AFX, Boards Of Canada, or even Squarepusher, it sounds like it's been made with a truthful ear and a keen attention to every sonic detail. Jungle is at the core of these fifteen arrangements, guiding the pace and freedom of the drums, but there's also plenty of abstraction amid the breaks, whether as sample glitches of drones, making it particularly singular. To one and all, this is an album which should not go overlooked. Tip!
The excellent Forma outfit return to the Kranky imprint with this magnificent little seven-tracker, crossing the boundaries between dance and the utterly abstract, tapping into all osrts of colourful soundscapes and sonic visuals. "Crossings" opens on a gentle flutter of polyrhythms which morph effortlessly into the beat-led sway of "Ostinato" and the Balearic charm of "Three-Two". "Rebreather" is a marvelous shot of ambience, while "Cut-Up" explores the off-kilter beat science that Forma is known for, "New City" drops us into a world of euphoria, and "Acent" takes those polyrhythms to new heights - and speeds! A recommended affair
MAX COOPER - Identity (Mesh)
GROUND - Sunizm (ESP Institute)
MANNI DEE - The Residue (Tresor Germany)