Reviewed this week
Like the label's previous release, Ombra International's third EP is an all-star affair featuring contributions from a quartet of artists. Veneno kicks things off with the clandestine, post-punk dub-disco trip "Attencion Especial", before Teniente Castillo blasts off into space via the psychedelic synthesizer arpeggio lines, undulating acid flashes and extended guitar solos of EP highlight "Not That Way". Perel's "Hildegard" does a fine job in straddling the thin line between mind-altering acid house and quirky, off-kilter nu-disco, while former Nein and Magic Feet duo Roe Deers steal the show via the wonderfully weird, loose and eccentric closer "Metal Ants", a track that defies any attempts at categorization.
Boris Blank and Carlos Peron launch their Tranceonic moniker, and it comes through on the effortlessly cool Dark Entries stable, home to what we would say are the best electronic releases of the last five years. No pressure, then. New Crime is a difficult LP to pin down, or to even begin categorizing under one banner, with each track offering a different and equally delightful strain of electronic psychedelia. To give you a taste, the duo craft their own take on Yello's infamous "Bostisch" killer, which quickly dissipates into the more sparse, imperceptible drum and synth cocktails of tunes like "Police Action In Zurich" or "America Is Happy". Don't worry, though, there's plenty of dance grooves for you to get stuck into, such as the deep ad wonderful "Butterfly". It's a keeper.
Berlin based American DJ James Whipple aka MESH is well known as a member of the city's notorious JANUS crew alongside Lotic and Kablam in addition to his well received releases for the likes of Dyssembler and PAN: which he's fast become a staple of. His contorted take on club music has been heard on 2015's impressive Scythians LP, in addition to his most recent Damaged Merc EP with its derivatives of hardstyle, Jersey club and grime. This follow up takes you further down the spiral, awash in bass heavy futurism ("2 Loop Trip"/"Coercer"), complex webs of field recordings ("Signal Ride Drum"/"Blurred Cicada II") and deep rendered sampling like on "Nemorum Incola" or "Blurred Cicada". Recorded in Berlin and Umbria, Hesaitix LP sees Whipple 'firmly engaged in a kind of sonic worldbuilding, a place where the unconscious and the alien intersect.' A compelling listen.
am Smith aka Ploy is making some of the hottest techno around at the moment and, no, the dude ain't German. Bristol-schooled and full of bass dread, Ploy's tunes have taken him from Timedance to Hessle Audio, and now onto the ever-impressive Hemlock Recordings. "Unruly" dominates the A-side with its fat, inter-galactic groove filled to the brim with hollow noise and complex percussion folds, all blowing up to a stop-start rhythm; on the flipside "Garys" chucks out another dense groove of tooled-up techno wizardry, banging and dubbed-out for maximum club tear-out, whereas "Lost Hours" lingers in outer space thanks to a beatless sway made up of kinetic bleeps and aqueous sonic shapes. Killer!
Yamaneko's debut album - 2014's Pixel Wave Embrace became a cult classic - quietly but notably influential on the artists around him and further afield. For his third full length effort on hometown imprint Local Action, the London based producer Joe Moynihan (who has released under the names Talbot Fade and Yaroze Dream Suite with Miles Mitchell) has been combining electronic music with ambient by way of grime, new age cassette music, video game soundtracks and techno. This album follows up last year's colder, less inviting Project Nautilus (Keygen Loops) but is a complete change of perspective. Story has it that earlier in 2017, he was commissioned to create music for a spa in Europe. These commissions eventually developed into a mass of material which formed the basis of this entire album. Here he has created his most blissful, beatless record to date.
Cologne's Kompakt label requires no introductions, so we'll stick to our words and leave it at that. They do, however, like to release a diverse and immersive variety of electronic music, and this latest comp, Pop Ambient 2018, taps into the sort of mood that's occurring throughout our society. Kompakt have always been good at reflecting what is happening to people, music and situations, with this new compilation executing that better than ever before. Each artist and each tune on here manages to offer experimentation and interpretation while still grasping at something that will appeal to the contemporary listener. No sound is out of shape, nothing is gratuitous. What's more, among the many excellent waves of beat-driven ambient flexing, you even get an appearance from the legendary Orb. This is one that will be remembered.
This year, there has been no one more fundamental to the development of Local Action than the prodigious, and extremely talented Erskine Lynas. Lynas is based in Aberdeen, and was only recently churning out future-grime frameworks across the scene; this new step into the vast, bottomless pit of Balearic electronica is both a refreshing surprise, and utterly impressive given just how damn good he is at crafting the stuff. This new LP, Lease Of Youth, is his third outing for the label, and it offers listeners a chance to cop some pure synth vibes of all shapes and sizes. "Feather Fall" and "Craiger Caught The Sleeper" open with sweet, poopy vibes backed by subtle house rhythms, but the album soon precipitates into much looser, abstract notions of electronic dance. Form the bouncy waves of "New Concrete" to the gentle ambience of "Forever Rain", the one consistent factor is Lynas' own voice, riding majestically along a river of endless euphoria.
Alesia Cosmos were a collective of musicians led by Bruno de Chenerilles (and several other collaborators) formed in the early '80s in Strasbourg. Under the influence of William Burroughs, John Cage, Pierre Henry and others, de Chenerilles developed tape music. By 1982, he appeared for the first time under the name Alesia Cosmos Furi Show. This experimental show led to a music project based on his and close collaborator Pascal Holtzer's compositions, performed with other musicians in the beginning of 1983. The Exclusivo! LP was the group's debut album recorded and was self-released in 1983. de Chenerilles and Holtzer's improvisations with the group brought forth more ideas and the album was recorded in a few days. The result was a mixing of electronic music, field recordings, North African and Asian percussion, electric guitars and voices, compositions and free improvisations. All four musicians took turns singing onomatopoeic phrases and backing vocals, even sometimes in an unknown language, a sort of mixed bag between Breton and Japanese.
Tom Ware is a Grammy nominated engineer, producer and musician from Omaha, Nebraska. Throughout the '70s and '80s, Ware was the drummer for many bands including Norman & The Rockwells, Toy boat Toy boat Toy boat and Hit N Run. Because of his love for electronics, he had a knack for PA systems which got him an entry level job at a Studio where he would work during the day, play evening gigs then go back there to work on new ideas all night. During these sessions, Ware worked by himself, following his instincts and creating sounds he loved. And this thrill to learn was what resulted in his first solo self-titled album. The album's 10 songs were recorded and mixed in 1983 and self-released in early 1984.
Exclusives
MILLION BRAZILIANS - Red Rose And Obsidian (Lullabies For Insomniacs)
GAJEK - 17 (Monkeytown Germany)
GP HALL - Industrial Blue (Lullabies For Insomniacs)