Review: Between 1965 and '68, future Muppets creator Jim Henson spent much time drawing and painting "the entertainment experience of the future - the theatre of the year 2020", which he called Cyclia. It's this psychedelic nightclub vision that inspired Krystal Klear's "Cyclia" series of EPs. There's much to enjoy on this suitably colourful and retro-futurist second EP, from the sleazy, synth-heavy Italo-disco/trance fusion of opener "Future Fantasy", to the bubbling electronic motifs, sequenced synth-bass and "Labyrinth" movie soundtrack vibes of slow-motion closing cut "Genesis". In between you'll find the dark, pulsating and muscular electronic disco/hypnotic house fusion of "One Night In Pbar" and the neo-trance grandiosity of "Dutch Gold".
Review: Emotional Response is delighted to present a special project, a collection of music from Bartosz Kruczynski, recorded for Selected Media and presented here as a time-piece of his continuing works.
Initially known as one half of sample based project Ptaki (The Very Polish Cut Outs / Transatlantyk), Kruczynski first appeared for Emotional Response as The Phantom for the first series of Schleissen in 2015. Featuring two works of deep fourth world sounds, they highlighted a shift to more mellow, synthetic and hazy compositions.
His break out came, however, when he explored this sound further on his eponymous album Baltic Beat, for the acclaimed Growing Bin Records. This has been augmented with the recent club based music as one half of the wonderful Earth Trax (Rhythm Section International / Phonica Records) project.
Here though, Kruczynski returns to the ambient and ethereal - plus a touch of dub techno - to showcase his expansive collaborative work with Polish studio, TVP Culture. Given free artistic license, the 15 short form recordings included here were for programming, in the main, on modern Polish Art including the likes of Magdalena Abakanowicz, Miroslaw Balka and Tadeusz Kantor, as well as some international aspects for Enrico Prampolini, Ai Weiwei and Monica Bonvicini.
Taken from over 70 episodes the material included recollects imagery, video and memory to present a series of short vignettes that together create one whole. Minimal and hazy ambience (V, VII, VIII, XI, XII) envisages classic melodies and chords and is accompanied by further 'fourth world' pieces (I, II, III, VII, X) that present an oeuvre that is recognisably the music of Kruczynski, while remaining fresh and perfectly meditative.
A counter can be found in the atmospheric dub works (IV, IX, XIV) that hint at echo chamber environs to get infinitely lost in. As an album then, Selected Media can be heard as a snapshot to Kruczynski's music journey, a meeting of art and music that is oft overlooked but very much essential.
Review: Calypso are back with another clutch of exciting mavericks orbiting the weirder end of the contemporary club spectrum. There are minimal wave influences to be tacitly detected on Nicola Cruz's "Tu Recuerdo" as well as kind of stripped back acid freakiness, while in FE's "Tarde O Temprano" there's even more gritty, industrial tinged bite in the billowing surges of machine rhythms. Quixosis takes some wonderfully lilting traditional percussion and gives it a freaky treatment which makes for the kind of slow jam Weatherall would have wielded with aplomb. NTFL finishes this ear-snagging compilation off with the plaintive, Dembow-tinted "Vacio".
Review: Synth-tastic nu-disco that draws on Italo, Belgian new beat and EBM for inspiration is the general order of the day on this various artists comp from Headman's Relish label. Daniel Avery is the best known name on a talent roster comprised mostly of more up-and-coming artists but the quality standard is high throughout, with tracks ranging from Avery's dark, technoid 'Input/Machine' to Hannelulauri's almost Sparks-ish 'Europa (Dub)', and from Andrea Esu's EBM percussion workout 'E.S.U. Track' to Chmmr's '16 Tonns', which comes on like Sylvester wandering the streets of early 80s LA in a red leather blouson with gigantic shoulderpads.
Letter From St. Anthony's (reprise) - (1:50) 130 BPM
Review: Genre defying artist and renowned experimental acoustician Amon Tobin returns with the mysterious Thys to Nomark, the platform for all of Amon Tobin's material since 2019. This first release for 2020 sees four walls of theatrical sound and dynamic pull at all matter of heartstrings, be it in the cathedral reverb "Letter From St. Anthony's" to the overt classical grandeur of its reprise. Find haunted ballads and nostalgic sonic mementos in the lead track "Ghostcards" and down memory lane still, let the tolling melodies and probation-era horns take you there, all wrapped up the sizzle of crystalising effects, wavering textures and the bowed bottom end of Amon Tobin's supersonic bass.
Review: Those who've paid attention to Jordan GCZ's career will tell you that he's an intergalactic kind of guy, with his varied discography featuring a number of suitably stargazing solo or collaborative releases. It's this side of his musical persona that he explores on new Future Times outing "Space Songs". Sitting somewhere between synthesizer-powered jazz-funk, quirky electronica, off-kilter deep house and outer-space techno, the five assembled tracks are colourful, inventive and deliciously hard to pigeonhole. We're particularly enjoying the epic broken techno-goes-jazz jam "Half Time" and the seductively shimmering, Spacetime Continuum-esque wonder that is "Prodigi", but to be honest the whole EP is inspired.
Review: Ranging from the dubby and atmospheric to vocal and even poppy, Undertow kingpin Phaeleh resurfaces with the journeysome Embers LP. With swathes of classical strings and fanned basslines adding cushion to the stepped drums of "Unity", melodic ambient progressions find their way to both "Solace Of Tomorrow" and "Halo". Tabla percussion and industrial atmospheres meet with the bowed subs of "When You Left", leaving Amy Kikrpatrick's vocals to set free the evocative tales of both "Spellbound" and "Floods", the warmest track on Embers alongside the uplifting chords and keys of "Moving On".
Review: The eighth series in Perc Trax's remix series sees some of techno's biggest names rework the label's back catalogue. It opens with Amelie Lens delivering a thumping, big-room take on Perc's own "Look What Your Love Has Done To Me". DJ Boss goes down a linear but visceral route for his Schranz take on RVDE's "90s Hammer", while Ghost In The Machine turns Perc & Truss' "Leather & Lace" into a juggernaut banger, led by screeching riffs, looped vocal samples and a pounding kick. For a more streamlined take on peak-time techno, take a listen to Perc's own VIP take on "Look What Your Love Has Done To Me" ,while for those lovers of layered, noisy bangers, look no further than Ansome's remix of Manni Dee's "London Isn't England".
Review: With a midwest sound of punk guitars, indie rhythms and post rock taking precedence over the experimental and leftfield nature of Yves Tumor's 2016 Serpent album, tracks on Heaven To A Tortured Mind have been described by the New Yorker as "sonically defiant as they are destructive." It presents the artist with a second album for Warp following 2018's Safe In The Hands Of Love LP and brings to mind music from the Mars Volta and The Neptunes across its first half. Come to tracks like "Folie Imposee", "Strawberry Privilege" and "Asteroid Blues" you'll find classic strands of new wave guitars and acoustic drum graced by contemporary touches of emo pop and R&B that culminate in the sensualistic album closer "A Greater Love".
Review: Following on from last week's bumper release, CruCast continue their high intensity start to 2020 with another New Blood compilation, showcasing the freshest new talent within the ever expanding bass scene. They have amassed quite the collection as they welcome the likes of Sisko, Cooky, Event Horizon, Tension and Digital Koala just to name a few. For us, this project holds a couple of immediate stand out projects however, with Namena's 'Jack In The Box' providing us with a sack of rawcus dancefloor energy within its shimmering synthesizer slaps, alongside the chomping drum smacks and unpredictable synthesizer explosions of Wheeto's 'Skull Punch'. Excellent work!
Review: With Miami Music Week 2020 now ticked over for another year there's been an inundation of compilations pointing us in to the best in tech house theatrics. Furtherstill, for the more discerning heads, there's Saved with their own mega selection: Collection H. See pounding burners from Groovebox in "Mr Hofman" to the undeniable rhythm tracks in Lorenzo De Blanck's over the top "Electric Body". Sultry and stripped backed minimal to be found in "Let Your Body Chill" to Boris Ross & Baggi's banging club hit "Hondo". Look to Hector Couto for your cooler house vibes ("Shawty") with bigger room numbers coming from Anthony Attalla, Daniel Orpi and Mendo. Ice canons please!
Review: We're used to Al Kent offering up epic, ten-minute plus re-edits of obscure, barely-known disco gems. Even so, his latest two-track scalpel missive is particularly sizeable, featuring as it does two near 12-minute excursions capable of creating pandemonium anywhere they're played. Virtual A-side "Fist of Fury" is particularly potent. We're not sure of the origin of the original, buts its mazy Moog solos, jaunty bassline, jammed-out electric piano lines and string-laden orchestration is heady, intoxicating and surprisingly spacey. In contrast, "Erotic Queen" is a low-down disco-funk grunter in which razor-sharp disco strings largely play second fiddle to dense drums, funky Clavinet lines and aggressive funk guitars. It switches focus several times and includes a few extended drum sections that really raise the temperature. In other words, it's a masterful edit.
Review: 9719 is the work of an inspired hook-up: at one end of the world there's Wata Igarashi, who has released on Bunker NY and Time 2 Express, while at the opposite end, there's Voiski with a catalogue that includes work for L.I.E.S. and Dolly. The fruits of their collaboration is just as far-flung; it moves from the dreamy, bubbling groove of "Pronom" into "Pomme", a pulsating slice of peak-time hypno-techno track that would not sound out of place on a Mike Parker EP. " Regex" is also an uptempo affair, but here they use tranced out synth riffs to accompany the pacy rhythm. "Riff" is another irresistible piece, bolstered by a throbbing acidic groove.
Review: Gottwood residents Krywald & Farrer have been slipping out some choice club wares for a fair few years now, not to mention running the Persies label among many others. But now they make their first appearance for the mighty, prolific Constant Sound. "Landing On Mars" blows open the creativity of these two fast-rising producers in spectacular style, fusing taut drum machine propulsion with loose percussion and cosmically charged synths. "Olympus" is a fair contrast with its gnarly acid line and peppy tempo, while "Pulverise" makes use of a breakbeat to weave something spooky and sinuous in equal measure. "Bump Strasse" finishes things off with some tasteful, dusty deep house for the late morning crew.
AC Slater & Murkage Dave - "Every Pigeon Is A Dove" (Drinks On Me remix) - (2:51) 130 BPM
Review: As one of the leading forces in worldwide bass music, AC Slater returns to his home imprint of Night Bass to unveil a fabulous selection of remixes, working directly off his critically acclaimed 'Hi8' album project. The line up is spicy to say the least, with the likes of Flava D, Sammy Virji, DALCO, NuKid, CID and more all getting involved for one the biggest remix projects bass music has ever seen. The two real standouts for us come from two brits however, as Bushbaby's colourful relick of 'Attitude' from AC & Taiki Nulight immediately catches our ears, alongside Drinks On Me's smooth and well thought out overhaul of 'Every Pigeon Is a Dove', featuring the wonderful vocal layers of Murkage Dave.
Review: It's time to dive into the deep and unknown realms of sound as Ship Sket lands on SZNs7N for four tracks twisted creativity, exploring some incredibly unique rhythms themes from the off. We begin with the metallic lashings, haunting vocals and spooky pad textures of 'Ritual Riddim' before moving into the overdriven bass warbles and punchy snare pinches of 'Puppet'. Next, the high energy breaksy rhythms and grizzly bass textures of 'No Respawns' are unveiled before rounding up on 'Evil Charmz', a super experimental take on grimey themes, pushed forward by distorted synthesizer slaps and lethal horn-lines. This isn't an EP for the faint hearted!
Review: These days you'll find her topping the bill at the world's leading jazz festivals, but back in the late 70s and early 80s Patrice Rushen was just another aspiring young disco/boogie chanteuse. It was 1982 album 'Straight From The Heart' that spawned 'Forget Me Nots' and propelled her to international stardom, but it's the album before that, 1980's 'Posh', that Strut is reissuing here. Stylistically very similar to its more illustrious successor, it's the perfect chance to get better acquainted with a supremely talented female artist who, despite some considerable successes, never quite attained the household name status that she surely deserved.
Review: Now this is a truly interesting project as we see the well respected production crew: Hexagon Dubs get to work on rebuilding some of most classic original dubstep tunes there has ever been with this brand new 'DMZ Rebuilt' EP. Firstly, Grey.scale unleashes his production wizardry for a moody recreation of 'Mud', before Sheik unleashes the breakbeat bullets for his tidy take on Loefah's 'Ruffage'. Aranha then switches the vibe up immensely, unleashing some silky pad textures for his 'Demilitarized Bootleg' of the anthem 'Anti War Dub', before Rafe & Umpah get busy with their potent overhaul of Mala's 'Lean Forward' classic. It's a dangerous job to remix cult classics, but we feel the Hexagon Dubs team have done the originals proud!
Review: Yet again, it appears that Nipponeer Japan have pulled out a box of magic as they welcome The Darrow Chem Syndicate in for a super groovy four track selection under the EP title 'Ghosn Attaches'. They have selected four potent remixes for our enjoyment, kicking off with Kid Panel's spicy rethink of 'Men In Soggy Sorrow', overhauling the twanging western vocals with silky breakbeat action. Next, Kuplay unleashes a vibrant roller rework of 'Breakin' For You' alongside Rory Hoy's rave synth heavy emulation of 'Hymn Of The Moog'. Finally, Macho steps up for a drum heavy take on 'The Bully', rounding the project off in style.
Review: We find these days it is a rare occurrence for us to not be impressed with a new J-Shadow drop and this latest six track adventure follows that same pattern, kicking off with the super unpredictable drum switches and eastern string lines of 'Orlov's Casket'. Next, we dive into the luscious soundscapes of 'Acid Genie' before the grimey drum pulses and vocal slices of 'NXT1' and unpredictable reversed string arrangements of 'Voyager-2' are unleashed. Finally, the twisted bass textures and monstrous bass designs of 'Contact' are let loose', followed by an incredibly well thought out remix of 'NXT1' from Gantz to see us out with a bang.