Review: Released in memory of Andrew Weatheral, IWDG presents a collaboration between his brother Ian Weatheral and Duncan Gray that turns in a cover version of New Order's "In A Lonely Place". Turning in a deep and sidewinding track of pumping toms, treated guitars and electronic drums to the slightest touches of dub, it's given a remix three-way remix hook. Pushing harder at a post punk sentiment, the Hardway Bros Axis dub focus on the original's guitars and bassline, with David Holmes turning in something cooler and kissed by breathy vocals and that classic post-punk inspired touch. Keith Tenniswood adds a percussive rhythm track to his version in addition to setting off a buzz of electronic percolations and cosmic effects. A place for good company.
Review: Theus Mago's Duro label decides to look back on the last-half decade with glee in this Hard Five Retrospective bringing together a huge compilation to help remind us what life's gonna be like when we're allowed back on the dancefloor! Not just bells and whistles, Duro keeps its flavours deep with cuts from Rigopolar in the Jean Michel Jarre/coldwave vibes of "Espiral" matched by the heavy beats and juicy basslines of Max Jones's "Poche". Earlier on you'll find some rare Tyu jams - our pick being the Espacio remix to "Stephen Hawking" - next to a selection of choice Bufi cuts (we recommended the Mio remix), with Mago going deep himself in the groove-centric "Luna". Other dope jams include Bruha's 808-driven "Ladra", Sascha Funke's remix to Motel77 and Rina & Benji killer workout "Koshmaro".
Review: Over the years we have become very used to Om Unit supplying us with some of the most experimental musical creations out there. This brand new album entitled 'Acid Dub Stories' is the embodiment of that refusal to fall into line, with the tracklisting exploring electronic music production in a way we have never heard before. There is distinctly retro feel about the general arrangement of the project, from the moogy synthesizer action of 'Ghosts' and 'Bristol Theme' to the more spacious use of pad textures in 'Dissolved' and 'Celestial Envoy', It's impossible to define the project within any singular bracket, with it being best described as a masterpiece in digital sound design. Other highlights include the constantly alternating melodic structures of 'The Struggle' and the digital dubwise vibes of 'Circled'. Amazing work!
Under Your Skin (Pearson Sound remix) - (5:05) 115 BPM
Under Your Skin (Pearson Sound Skeleton dub) - (4:50) 115 BPM
Review: Crosstown Rebels follows up a killer album by drum & bass legend DJ Krust with this new one by Gruuv main men Audiojack, who team up with American expat in Berlin Kevin Knapp. The result is "Under Your Skin", an off-kilter and experimental cut that's quite unlike anything you've heard from the producers before, with its intoxicating and bass-driven vibe that's perfect for the chill-out or warm-up alike. With this in mind, it receives a remix from quite the suitable candidate in the form of Pearson Sound. The UK bass hero taking the track into the more hypnotic realms in pursuit of his typically low end theories.
Review: Easily the most anticipated album of 2021 so far, legendary UK duo Bicep are lighting it up right now with a second full length album for Ninja Tune. It follows their self-titled debut from 2017 and it sees the pair filling the UK and its neighbouring Europe with hopes, dreams and premonitions of the day we get to go clubbing again. Weaving a new age sound of synths and trance through futuristic beats and drum sequences that take in everything from two-step and house to drum and bass, jungle and techno, Bicep bring the experimentations of eras past to the minds of a mainstream audience to deliver an album that will set fire to the underground as much as it will the dance charts of the new year. Our pick: Sundial.
96 Back & Special Request - "Petrichor" - (4:56) 120 BPM
Compassion - (9:20) 130 BPM
Review: It's time to dive into something super experimental next as Special Request joins forces with the team over at K7 for a three track adventure in sound design and retro-flavours. We kick off with a real throwback anthem in 'Vellichor', a fantastic display of synthetic bliss, moulding electro-like synthesizer pulses with shimmering rhythms and sweeping pads, before 96 Back joins the party for 'Petrichor', another solemn sweep through stunning soundscapes and synth design. Finally, the title track 'Compassion' unleashes a more hard hitting feel, driven primarily by the grizzly bass instrument we find lurking beneath a wash of pleasing melodies and minimal percussive plucks. An unusual selection, but oh so satisfying!
Review: Since launching in the autumn of 2019, Gouranga Music has periodically offered up some of the most interesting and inventive nu-disco cuts around. Happily, we can confirm that this EP from Spanish scene stalwart James Rod more than lives up to the label's high standards, with the Golden Soul Records founder confidently flitting between intoxicating, Moroder-goes-Italo-disco drug-chug (mind-altering mid-tempo opener 'Die Herrschaft'); undulating, pitched-down, synth-heavy bubbliness (the even slower 'Licantropia', which includes some suitably tumbling and glassy-eyed guitar motifs); and driving, punk-funk influenced nu-disco/dub disco fusion (the dark and foreboding 'Saratoga').
Review: Boite Music squeeze a last one in for 2020 with a various artist EP taking in New York style new wave inspirations in AINZ's "The Saviour" next to the funkadelic industrial new disco hits of Manuel Costela's good times "Keep Me Burnin'". Lafrench Toast sends in a '70s inspired disco number of rich continental flair, allowing Sauco to cover a different kind landscape with a mesamptopian tipped "Nights Over Lebanon". Sortie, Ausgang, Sunrise at the Exit - you got there!
Review: As if spiralling into a new world of sound design Leon Vynehall remains an artist impossible to define. Since falling in love with his earlier records on labels like 3024, Royal Oak and Rush Hour, Leon Vynehall's major output since 2018 has come through Ninja Tune, including the release of his third studio LP, Nothing Is Still. Verging his sound toward something more dramatic, urban and theatrical these days, "Mothra" is perhaps this single's best example of that, breaking down into some kind of warped, percussive reprise. Broken beat at best, "Ecce! Ego!" dove tails in sound like the tragedy of a bird harpooned through the chest, falling through an ensemble of wood winds, field recordings and acoustic instrumentation. Mothra wins!
Review: After 12 years in the game, Spanish nu-disco stable have reached the 100-release milestone, and they're celebrating with an imaginatively titled compilation packing eight brand new tracks that have been handpicked by label boss Rayko. Obviously, with eight tracks from as many artists there's a fair degree of stylistic variety on offer, but the emphasis generally is on heavily electronic grooves - sometimes veering into Balearic/coffee table pastures, sometimes served with a darker, more leftfield twist. It's really more of a home listening album than a collection of club cuts, but for dancefloor purposes start with the contributions from Ilya Santana and Sauco...
Review: As we continue to celebrate the stream of releases Rotter's Golf Club have brought to us by The Woodleigh Research Facility we're endowed with three more cuts from Nina Walsh's unrivalled collaboration with Andrew Weatherall. Forever bent on their slight electro trip, the pair dial up a spooked computer in "Scattered Microworlds" next to "Moment Of Lucidity" which only emphasises the project's identity as some kind of solitary outpost conjuring up all kinds of telecommunication experiments somewhere in the southern hams of Devon country. With subtle post-punk and industrial themes weaved into the darker tones of "The Fallen", we rate this EP up there as the project's most exemplary yet.
Review: In all honesty, we feel that the musical successes of Al Wootton have gone somewhat under the radar, with his consistently impressive productions always leaving us with a smile on our faces. This brand new four track collection alongside the team at Trule kicks off with some interesting percussive work on the vibrant sounding 'Baccata', before 'Alder' combines more fluttering drum designs with a steadily shifting sub-bass pattern below for a really eerie feel. Following this, 'Maenads' feels like the evolution of the previous track with a lot of similar rhythmic patterns being deployed, this time with an overall punchier feel, before slowing the pace significantly on 'Ashe', a downtempo display of introspective calm to round us off in style.
Review: Production duo Freund Der Familie believe in taking their time, and these remixes arrive three years after the release of Panorama itself. Smallville regular Christopher Rau kick-starts the EP with a woozy, broken beat version of "PRS", while veteran German producer Pole slows down the pace on his version of "CRM". Underscoring dub shanty chords with a malevolent, growling bass, it makes for a wonderfully expansive slow-motion piece. In contrast, the Roger Gerressen take on "PRS" is a hypnotic piece of deep, subtle techno, while Van Bonn's version of "CRM" focuses on frenetic, intense percussion and a dense, throbbing rhythm.
Review: New Generation is Layton Giordani's second album on Drumcode, following 2017's Where It Begins. Documenting his travels and experiences around the world, it moves from the soothing ambience of "Shinjuku" into lean house grooves like the title track's brooding, bass-led groove and the epic, swooning melodies of "Memory Fragment". Giordani's second album also shows that he has evolved and has really come into his own as a versatile producer. There's the pulsating, ominous groove of "System Majority", on "Nirvana X", he wraps a booming jungle bass over rolling break beats and his collaborations with Cevin Fisher, Green Velvet and Len Faki span party techno, old school house and big-room vocal tracks. It's an inspired second LP.
Review: Following on from a year of well thought out releases, the Deep Medi Musik team look to put the final egg in the basket with this weighty new four track expanse from Quasar. We begin our listening journey with the title track 'Walk', a stunning piano-lead creation, packed full of emotion and eerie atmospheric design behind. This sets the tone perfectly as 'Inutile' follows with a more classic sounding steppers arrangement, this time focussing on interesting bassline expressions and crunchy drum designs before the more wonky sub-structures and syncopated rhythms of 'Ambivalent' send us westbound. Finally, the electro-driven madness of 'External Signal Processor' gives us one final shock, combining glitchy sounding synthesis with gnarly bass creation for one last punch of power.
Review: The Woodleigh Research Facility is the name adopted by Andrew Weatherall and Nina Walsh to channel the creative partnership that began a staggering 30 years ago, which, by and large, has found its ultimate release in 2020. Adding to a huge torrent of music that AW's legendary Rotter's Golf Club has released this year, Facility 4: A Walk With Bob & Bill Vol 2 sends in two uniquely badass, analogue to the core, and firing electro tracks and the one meandering, atmospheric and industrial techno number, "Poiesis". For the more cosmic and melody minded head to "I Hear The Sun", with the sweetest treat in this package the beatdown sparks and sizzling sonics of "Without Distraction". The real deal.
Review: An emerging sound to come out of the minimal, jazz and dusty percussion complex of stripped back house music is Coloboma's Glorious Hitchhikers EP. A new name, producer or group to be appreciated up there with the music Pheek, Plusculaar and Akatan have released with Archipel. Here Coloboma drop an assortment of klunks, clicks and dunks in "One Week Without Metzky" next to an even dustier, synth glowing and semi-ambient number in "Heaven". WIth something mellower still coming out of "Story Seller", get your abstract rhythm track from "Fool", with this EP's most regimented drums, but still light and fluffy, arriving in "Learn From The Trees". Glorious Hitchhikers, a record that sounds like your mates on acid rifling through your grandparents basement.
Review: Boite Music continues on its journey into the deepest recesses of left field dance music with this fine split release. Kabinett's "Shake" is led by an angular rhythm and features jagged guitar lines fused with muffled vocal snippets, sounding similar to DFA's back catalogue. On "Ice Breaker", Alex Aguayo explores a more electronic approach, and brings hollowed out drums and dramatic, sweeping strings to the fore, while Jason Core's "Pentimento" follows a similar path, as a pulsating bass is fused with epic hooks. In contrast to the overall theme of the release, Ivan Frabra's "Tokyo Beat" focuses on lighter disco influences with a throbbing bass married to light synths.
Review: Enigmatic supergroup Burial, Four Tet and Thom Yorke reunite with a new age splice of their sound first heard in the Ego / Mirror collaboration of 2011. Revealed as a limited 300 copy vinyl release only available from a set of record store clerks somewhere in Soho, London, Her Revolution/His Rope (as if right on time) dramatises the modern day gender role in bringing 2020 and its forlorn soundtrack to an end. Yorke's voice wavers in the distance as ever while crumpled noise floors of Burial seemingly give cushion to the soft percussion and shimmering melody lines of a Four Tet's making. Capture the moment.