Review: Critical's resident Swiss wizards are back at it with this five-tracker, their first full length EP since Perspectives Vol. 1 last year. It's a textbook QZB, who are absolute geniuses at producing music bedded in techy depth, and who work across the full spectrum from deft, frivolous touches to all-out dancefloor heat. The title track here is the former, with oscillating synth nodes that ebb in and out of the mix, a liquid vibe that's metallic in texture yet remains distinctly soulful. 'Unforgiving' is the opposite, a foghorn-laced tech destroyer with astonishingly good use of space, a track which simultaneously feels stripped-back and full to the brim. 'Silence Rings Loudest' is probably the most creative; imagine a mixture of BOP and Frederic Robinson and you'll be close, as featherweight drums rise and fall in delicate crescendos of nostalgic robotics. Delightful.
Review: Swiss mandem Qbig & Zenith B have undergone a total re-focus and re-branding to return as QZB. And this heavyweight, multi-flavoured beast is this is their crucial opening statement. Covering more ground than they have in the past, but all with a consistent signature that's both powerful and stark, across the EP we're treated to space-age minimal rollers ("WYGD" and "Valhalla"), ghetto-busting footwork funk ("Apollo"), gritty riff steppery ("Turning Point") and sublime soul-burning halftime ("Revenant") Make no mistakes: the Basel boys have just upped several gears... This should not be slept on.
Review: 2018 is the second year in a row that Critical Music dropped a surprise release for us on Christmas Day, 2017 seeing the Modified Sonics album full of VIPs and exclusive remixes. New Energy Vol.1, however, is a totally different deal and that's because it's 18 brand new, exclusive tunes from those deep inside the Critical camp and those just entering it. The whole roster is represented: Kasra, Enei, Mefjus, Emperor, Foreign Concept, The Upbeats - and so on. But, excitingly, there's new talent in the form of Bou, Synth Ethics, Simula, Kanine and more. Mefjus' remix of 'Projections' arguably takes the cake as the best tune on here - absolute murderation. This is Critical's statement of intent for 2019.
Review: Time for a freshness flex: Shogun return to their new and rising talent series Point Of Origin and once again it's a big deal with 15 crucial cuts from 20 outstanding and future-shaping artists; from the already established and massively respected such as Serum, Paul T & Edward Oberon, who follow up last year's massive "Take My Breath Away" with the deep space slinker "Burning", and Paul SG with his decidedly wobbled-out drumstick snapping roller "Holy Moly" right the way through to exciting new energies in the dance like Phaction, with his ghostly-vocalled soul-out "Distant Lovers" and Neve & Crimson's beautifully blue-notated jazz drum dark-out "Solar Rain" and so many stunning cuts in between (Mitekiss, Gerra & Stone, Was A Be, Macca & Loz Contreras, the list goes on) this is Shogun at its most exciting and forward-thinking.