Review: You don't need to go to the big smoke to hear the latest cutting edge sounds. Don't believe us? Well look no further than the far-flung reaches of Devon for proof. Hailing from Totnes, Libra makes the kind of head-spinning, foot-stepping hybrid house that reconfigures garage into a whole new 21st century form of dance. "Need Your Love" recalls the trippier end of deep 90s vocal house, with cosmic digital sprays and loopy organ riffs. Remix-wise Archive UK takes us into boomy, doomy DnB-meets-dubstep territory, whilst Tickles gives us some moody 2-step with an extra helping of wobble for good measure.
Review: Following up her 2016 debut album for Michigan based Sounds Of The Dawn, Latvian artist and composer Agata Melnikova returns under the Sign Libra moniker. Closer to the Equator was composed for a contemporary ballet for the National Opera in Riga and explores Melnikova's appreciation of BBC-produced nature documentaries. According to the label, each song is a musical tableau which plays its part in a ballet - all carefully choreographed by the Latvian artist. Themes and concepts aside, these celestial, new-age ambient excursions merge with tropical and oriental aesthetics, plus hypnotic polyrhythms and utilising a lot of FM synthesis on these '80s styled soundtracks. Undoubtedly in the vein of John Hughes films as heard on "Mantodea vs Furcifer Pardalis" and even some romantic retro-futurism inspired by the original Blade Runner soundtrack like on the sultry "Victoria Amazonica". For fans of Vangelis Katsoulis, Visible Cloaks or John Roberts.
Review: New York City based Beta Librae is Bailey Hoffman, a producer originally from Kansas City. She has previously released on 1080p and Lillerne Tape Club and Physical Therapy's Allergy Season. Incienso sees the Technofeminism club resident unleash some deep and hypnotic strains of techno, littered with some lush immersive ambient passages throughout. Tracks like "2028" or "Skyla" tread the same path of esoteric tribalism that Natural/Electronic Soundsystem or Refracted travel, while the trippy lo-fi house of "Just Drift" or "Urras" will appeal to fans of Porn Sword Tobacco and SVN's Recording series. The dynamic closer "New Feelings" was a surprising highlight, exploring the emotive groove of late '90s liquid drum 'n' bass.
Review: London label Smiley Fingers has signed up an artist with a difference for its latest release. Hathor Libra, real name Cristian Comes, is inspired as much by IDM and techno as he is by deep house. This melange is audible on "Reconditum", where light melodies and tingling percussion are underpinned by a growling, frazzled bass. On "Stratos", the Italian producer also deploys a powerful bass, but on this occasion, it swaggers menacingly as it is accompanied by cold melodies. The title track offers further surprises: Comes again looks to use a pumping low end, but it's the eerie hooks, epic builds and unpredictable break downs that really impress.