Review: It may have taken a while - his massive debut single 'Hyph Mngo' was released 12 years ago - but Joy Orbison has finally got round to recording his debut album. It's a highly personal affair, peppered with speech snippets from various family members (including his mum, dad, sister, cousins and famous uncle Ray Keith). It's a device that works well, providing a unifying thread throughout a woozy, musically eclectic concoction that sees the now veteran UK producer give his distinct spin on ambient, slow house, two-step garage, deep house, post-dubstep beats, dubbed-out soundscapes, British bass music, experimental electronica, cutting edge deep D&B and much more besides. It's perhaps not the all-out assault on the dancefloor some may have expected, but it is a genuinely brilliant and entertaining album.
Review: It's over 25 years since Baby Ford decamped to the studio with, alternately, Mark Broom and the late Ian 'Eon' Loveday to re-examine the depths and possibilities of collaborative underground techno. The result, as we now know, was a giant step forward into a new sound, with a new label, Ifach, that would go on to define the blueprint for a more minimal sound it would take others a decade emulate. Monolense, four bittersweet, emotional, stripped bare explorations of techno has long been sought-after, commanding high prices on the secondhand market, and is finally getting a re-release. This is not just a moment in time, but a bookmark in UK techno history.
Review: Trust Maurice Fulton to surprise us. Having seemingly abandoned his Syclops pseudonym following the critical and commercial success of the superb 2008 full-length, I've Got My Eye On You, he's resurrected it for a surprise sophomore album. Predictably, A Blink of An Eye is a bit good. Picking up where the previous album left off, it delivers a warped fusion of titanium-plated electronics, leftfield acid jack, freestyle jazz flourishes and intergalactic mutant disco. Formidably twisted but hugely enjoyable, it gleefully charges off in many different directions, mixing shirts-off anthems (see the brilliant "Sarah's E with Extra P"), with curious percussion jams (the afro-centric "Jump Bugs") and curiously blissful, Boof-ish excursions ("5 In"). Stellar stuff.
Review: Having firmly established himself as one of the foremost experimental producers of the past decade with albums like Replica, Returnal, and Rifts, Daniel Lopatin here makes the logical move to electronic music bastion Warp Records. On first listen R Plus Seven is quite unlike any of his other records, largely eschewing the arpeggiated drones of his early work and sample-based collages of his last album for something much more vivid. Coming across like a combination of the emotive minimalism of Terry Riley and Steve Reich, and the hyperreality of James Ferraro's Far Side Virtual, R Plus Seven nevertheless stakes its own claim in the world of post-everything electronic music, combining delicate, introspective moods with shocking moments of recognisable sonic signification. Quite possibly Lopatin's best album to date.
Review: Pitched somewhere between the gritty, propulsive beats of Los Angeles, and the exploratory jazz of Cosmogramma, Flying Lotus's fourth album, Until The Quiet Comes is arguably the most delicate record he's ever produced. Described as a "collage of mystical states, dreams, sleep and lullabies", it steers away from bigger moments, choosing instead to present an understated patchwork of breezy jazz samples, dusty hip-hop beats smeared vocals seemingly inspired by DMT hallucinations. While previous efforts were wildly futuristic at times, Until The Quiet Comes is confidently classicist - and seals Flying Lotus's position as one of our generation's visionary producers.
Review: NYC sound artist and Software label boss Daniel Lopatin is back with his eagerly awaited eighth studio album. A self-proclaimed 'cybernetic rock' album influenced by his time touring with Nine Inch nails and Soundgarden in 2014. There's '"Ezra" which reaches near trance moments, the glitchy R&B digitalism of "Sticky Drama" which features a turn, mid track, reaching a level of mayhem comparable to Shapednoise. There is a moment of what we can only describe as 'indie trance' on the psychotic epic "Mutant Standard". Not forgetting the disturbed nu-gaze of "I Bite Through It", a real highlight on here. Commercial music was said to have influenced the album too. "Freaky Eyes" and "Lift" deconstruct pop music via sampling/resampling and loop points, adding Lopatin's own bizarre intricacies on top. He has undoubtedly become known as one of the most unique voices in electronic music today and this is further testament to his standing. Difficult listening for curious ears.
Review: In the 12 years since he unfurled acclaimed debut album Clarence Park, one-man electronica factory Chris Clark has produced a vast body of work. He's been particularly busy on the remix front, completing a huge array of reworks. It's this work that makes up the vast majority of Feast/Beast, a remix retrospective (which, curiously, also includes some notable reworks of his material) split into two distinct halves. The first disc, Feast, focuses on the more melodic, other-worldly end of his output, delivering wide-eyed remixes of Amon Tobin, Kuedo and, most beautiful of all, Silverman. Beast, the second disc, moves into darker, tougher territory, joining the dots between techno, bass music, vintage hardcore and wonk-hop thanks to notable versions of Massive Attack, Maximo Park and Depeche Mode.
Review: More than a few eyebrows were raised when Sasha returned last year with an album of previously unheard ambient and IDM cuts recorded over the course of his lengthy career. Here, that set gets the remix treatment, with a mixture of scene stalwarts and rising stars behind the mixing desk. While there are some gentle dancefloor revisions - see Max Cooper's melodious and atmospheric tech-house interpretation of "Channel Deq" and Matthew Dear's hypnotic, late night take on "Pontiac" - many of the most rewarding and entertaining remixes are those that take a more horizontal approach. In this category, you'll find Sasha's own rising, near symphonic version of "Pontiac" and a stunning, standout mix of "Abacus" by Warp Records veterans Plaid.
Review: Trudge is back on Lobster Theremin to follow up the great Self Love Club release here with a full debut LP. No More Motivation is a conceptual opus said to be inspired by tragic life events, yet demonstrates that there's a wide range in the French artist's sonic arsenal. From the rolling and cavernous breaks of opening cut "Bangkok Radio", the glacial and engulfing dub techno of "Mazzomba", taking you to the other side of euphoria on the saucer-eyed ambient journey "Berserk" and going into dystopian electro territory on the suitably titled "Punishments".
Review: Hailing from Ecuador, Nicola Cruz is a mysterious producer whose fine work tends to appear on esteemed label Multi Culti. Here is back with more occultish offerings (to the gods), four in fact, all of which will have you feeling light headed and possibly even aroused. Spiritually of course. "Tzantza" opens as nocturnal shuffle in the jungle, kind of like an organic body music. Elsewhere "Bruzo" mixes off-kilter rhythms and cut ups tribal chants, "Danza De Vision" is a livelier affair that's adds pan pipes and electronic bleeps to the mix and "Rio Branco" is a linear fusion of minimal percussion.
Review: If you were judging Kieran Hebden's 11th Four Tet studio album merely on the way it's presented, you'd immediately think he'd spent the last two years immersed in early '90s ambient house albums. While it's unlikely he's done that, it's fair to say that New Energy does owe a debt to classic electronica sets from that period. For all the exotic instrumentation and subtle nods to post-dubstep "aquacrunk" experimentalism and chiming, head-in-the-clouds sunrise house, the album feels like a relic of a lost era. That's not meant as a criticism - New Energy is superb - but it is true that his choice of neo-classical strings, gentle new age melodies, sweeping synthesizer chords and disconnected vocal samples would not sound out of place on a Global Communication album.
Review: Sex Judas, who carries the infamous name of Tore "Jazztobakk" Gjedrem, is perfectly suited to the Optimo Music aesthetic. Both visually and acoustically, the producer's vast pool of sonics mean that he is never sticking to one formula or sound, and that is surely bang on the way Optimo like to approach music. Go Down Judas is his debut LP, and while we've dubbed it as 'balearic', this is very much a complete work that spans many different genres and thoughts. There are sparse, beatless moments as well as more fast-paced, bass-driven dance numbers, but the man's vision remains constant throughout. In fact, we'd say it is the perfect balance of noise and symphony, all wrapped up in a post-modern club vibe that will undoubtedly strike more than a few chords...
Review: A mighty 19 years since we last heard a solo album from Regis on Downwards, Hidden In This Is The Light That You Miss sees Karl O'Connor return with a post-era defining sound. Stripped-back, heavy, and broken beat techno swinging with tribal percussion and industrial malice, it's tracks like "Cracked Earth", "Calling Down A Curse" and "The Sun Rose Pure" that should appeal most to hardened Downwards characters. Find slower, more malevolent numbers in "The Blind Departing", made harder still by the moans and gnarly bass in "I See Fire", collectively plotted through a album of loose narratives and beatless sound design in tracks like "Eros In Tangiers" and "Alone Of All Her Sex". Long live Regis!
Review: A new Carsten Jost album on Dial. Wow, this is a rather special treat, and we would call this a Juno weekly special. Apart from the fact that this dude makes awesome music, the producer has been purely busy running the mighty Dial label over the last 20-odd years, and this is his first solo LP since 2000's "You Don't Need a Weatherman". He's obviously though about this piece for a while because it is masterfully executed throughout, and there is little that Mr.Jost could have done to make it any better. That's because it is deep house made by someone who understands people, not merely dancefloors. In other words, these eleven tracks work in unison and, rather than making up a list of single, danceable tunes, he's decided to go for the journey approach, one which we've always got time and respect for. From moments of pure house magic, to downtempo chillers, and even subtle nuances of techno, this is the real deal. Another Dial masterpiece.
Review: Frankfurt favourite Roman Flugel returns to Hamburg institution Dial, presenting his third album to date for the label. According to a press release, the All The Right Noises LP explores further the themes of hotel rooms while on tour: "a place where no beats are banging and euphoric party energy is absent. A place where only heartbeats call the tune." Take for instance woozy and sombre drifters such as "The Mighty Suns" or "Nameless Lake" (which are full of dusty and vintage machine flair) or tough and disjointed house jams like "Warm & Dewy". Or our favorite "Dead Idols" which borders on near techno moments. Rest assured that there are more uplifting and bouncy tracks on offer, such as the deep disco flavour of "Dust" or the emotive bittersweet title track, where its soaring drones will wash over you.