Review: Black Light Smoke (or Jordan Lieb, if you wanna get all formal) hails from Nashville, Tennessee, but specialises in deep, soul-drenched electronica rather than honky-tonk country & western. On this forward-thinking EP he blends influences from deep house, UK garage, indie dance and more, to come up with six pleasingly understated headnodders, with the emphasis on chopped, steppy beats, cavernous sub-bass and, most frequently, chipmunk'd fem vox - though lead cut 'Nothing Makes Me Feel' itself features a mournful, downtuned male vocal instead. Think Burial making a future bass record for Warp or Ninja Tune and you're somewhere in the ballpark!
Third Light (Adrian Sherwood's Echoes Of The Night dub mix) - (4:33) 80 BPM
Review: Now this one sure is a gooden, as Dubmission welcome the sounds of Pitch Black for a tasty single entitled 'Third Light'. The original is a subtle, sub-heavy roller, focusing on it's fantastic use of spacey textures and atmospheric structure, occasionally being caressed by smoothened chord progressions. This one comes complete with two exciting remixes also, as Bodie firstly provides us with a dungeon-style rethink, followed by Adrian Sherwood's 'Echoes Of The Night Dub Mix', experimental dance music soundscaping at its finest.
Review: Christmas has, indeed, come early - once again! Jordan Lieb is back with his inimitable Black Light Smoke project, laying new grounds on the debuting Nein imprint, out of Germany. As per usual, this is all about the atmospherics, a whole ocean of disparate pads and harmonies that never seems to reign in and draw back. Both "Perfecto" and "Take Me Out" travel effortlessly down the spiral path, riding and shrinking its airy synths without absolutely any concern. There's even a Cabaret Nocturne remix of "Take Me Out", a super fun coldwave chiller with a clear 80s sensibility, from its funked-out bass to the duet's lingering love vocals.
Review: Since he last released on Scissor & Thread in 2014, Black Light Smoke (the electronic music alias of TV and film composer Jordan Lieb) has taken the opportunity to explore darker, wonkier styles of dance music with mixed results. Happily, this return to the Brooklyn-based imprint is something of a triumph. Check, for example, the woozy chords and rush-inducing dreaminess of enveloping deep house opener "In Gold", the lo-fi proto-house-meets-deep house shuffle of "City Life", the picturesque dancefloor breeziness of "Up In This" and the hip-hop tempo, synthesizer-heavy fuzziness of "Every Beat (No Regrets)". Also impressive is "Make My Peace", a deep, acid-flecked jack-track that manages to simultaneously feel both paranoid and calming.
Review: For some grungy vocal house music with a touch of Chicago percussion and a healthy splash of the indie-synth wave that came crashing over electronic music in the late 2000s, Scissor & Thread's Black Light Smoke might be 2014's answer to Danton Eeprom circa 2009. We say Danton Eeprom, as the voice on the B2, "Screws In My Head", has a similar tone and enunciation of the Frenchman, or are we getting mixed up with Mathew Dear? The title track, "Firefly", brings back memories of Azari & III's debut EP only with druggy vocals coming from what could be the basement of a DFA rave in New York, while "Morning Comes" borrows some cowbells from The Rapture and sultry French inspirations from Jane Birken. "Black Bricks" then provides some slo-mo, lo-fi phase filtered house - and one hell of a bassline. Alternative electronics for the indie lover.
Review: Jordan Lieb's Black Light Smoke project first appeared on Hafendisko back in 2011, before joining forces with Scissor & Thread for a string of notable releases. Fire In My Head is the producer's first EP for four years. There's a pleasingly dusty, analogue rich feel about all of the tracks, with the dirty house rhythms, bold pianos and woozy vocals of "Fire In My Head" just shading the deeper and woozier "Signals" in the 'best track' stakes. Pleasingly, Lieb has chosen to include instrumental Dub remixes of each of the tracks. We're particularly enjoying the acid-era dreaminess of the "Fire In My Heart" revision - the extended breakdown is particularly spine tingling - but all three are rather good.
Review: Over the past couple of years Niko Maxen has been busy firing out hit after hit of refined minimal with an emphasis on moody atmospheres and intricate, off-centre groove programming. From early releases on Pathway Traxx to recent outings on Roche Noire, Rowle and many others, he's already got a lot of heat behind him, and so it continues with this killer EP for Constant Black. "Go Gently" is a dense, electrifying workout with a killer beat and spooked out pads, while "Sanctuary" edges towards bubbling modular synth lines perfect for psychotropic warm-ups. "Cosmic Jazz" is a little more straight-up in its demeanour, albeit with wigged out FX sends riding over the top, while "Light Drizzle" heads into tripped out territory once again.