Review: Now many have guessed that this one has been in the works for a while, but that makes us no less excited to unveil this tasty new album projct from J:Kenzo, who returns to his home imprint of Artikal Music for 'Taygeta Code'. From start to finish, the album is a true exploration into electronic music, primarily of course focussed around 140BPM. It's got bass pressure on 'Desired State', it's got acidic originality on 'Hoodwinked', it's even got a weighty guest vocal from the legendary Flowdan who returns on Kenzo's Darkside VIP mix of 'Like A Hawk'. This is an excellent showcasing of J:Kenzo's ability within a crowded dubstep scene.
Review: There's much to admire about Kamaal Williams' contribution to the long running DJ Kicks series, not least the producer, DJ and keyboardist's blend of self-made exclusives (both under his name and his alternative Henry Wu alias) and largely overlooked gems. Highlights in the former category include a stunning live version of "Snitches Brew", the jazzy Latin house of "Projections" (a Henry Wu hook-up with Earl Jeffers) and "Lowrider", a jazz guitar-propelled cut from his collaborative Yusuf Kamaal project. In the latter category, we'd suggest wrapping your ears around Awanto 3's dusty and ultra-deep "Pregnant", the deep jazz-funk bliss of Diggs Duke's "Cause I Love You", the up-tempo dancefloor soul of Peven Everett's "Stuck" and the slow motion wonder that is Steve Spacek's "Hey There".
Review: We've come accustomed to the Helliker-Hales brothers delivering dusty, musically intricate deep house that tends towards the jazzier and more dub-flecked end of the spectrum. It's therefore something of a surprise to find that their latest two-tracker is an altogether bolder and more warehouse-ready affair. Title track "Come Together" features distinctive, alien-sounding lead lines, trance-like female vocal snippets and stabbing, warehouse-ready riffs rising over forthright drums and a chunky, retro-futurist bassline. If anything, "Digital Sound" is even heavier, with dub-wise vocal snippets, bleeping electronics and foreboding chords dancing around heavy tribal drums and the kind of muscular riffs that were once a hallmark of Junior Vasquez and Danny Tenaglia's mid-90s productions. In other words, it's a suitably sizable "big room" record.
Review: More from Faze Action member Robin Lee's offshoot Andromeda Orchestra project, whose throbbing and forthright releases have previously joined the dots between revivalist disco and the synthesizer-driven world of Italo-disco. In its original form (track three), "Don't Stop" is an authentically produced riff on the K.I.D track of the same name rich in swooping, razor-sharp strings, Clavinet-happy disco grooves and glassy-eyed female vocals. It comes accompanied by a stellar peak-time remix from Lee's old pal Ray Mang - all layered drum fills, swirling noises and jangling piano riffs - and a spacey, beat-free ambient "Reprise". Bonus cut "Kano Line Dance", a funky mid-tempo shuffler that joins the dots between boogie, jazz-funk and P-funk, is also rather tasty.
Review: What we have here is a fantastic selection and representation of the future of reggae music worldwide as the Nice Up! team unveil the fifth edition of 'Nice Up! The Session'. The release features some pretty top draw names, including the likes of Parly B, Gardna, Seanie T, Gappy Ranks and more. From the junglist flavours of Fleck's 'One Step At A Time' rethink, to the future dancehall delights of 'Bad Mi Bad' from XL Mad & Gappy Ranks, we witness the full breadth of reggae's development in 2019, with other favourites including DJ Madd's crispy rethink 'Chasing Dreams' from Rider Shafique & Precha, along with Folding City's experimental overhaul of 'My Yout' from 'Origin One & Irah'. Excellent stuff!
Dem Dem (feat Killa P/Chunky/Trigga & Slay - PART2STYLE remix) - (3:51) 80 BPM
Review: Here we are gifted an unusual yet inspiration link up as we see the combined forces of both Zed Bias and Metrodome link up for a super choppy footwork party as they lay down four tasty tracks on Maddstyle. Firstly, we witness an even craziest link up as Killa P, Chunky, Trigga & Slay lay down some hard hitting, high energy vocal lines across the breadth of 'Dem Dem', giving us some serious rave ammo. We also witness the jungle infused latherings of 'Feeding Frenzy', followed by the super punchy drum sub combos of 'Off It's Head'. We finish up with a smoothened take on the lead vocal track as 'PART2STYLE' gets busy with lofi, spacey, synthy rework. Amazing stuff!
Review: It's been a long wait but like an epic trilogy we thought we were never going to get, Andy Stott delivers a third record related to the ground breaking Passed Me By and We Stay Together EPs. Nothing stops the rolling onward lurch of "Versi" with "Take" a sort of houseir counterpart in rhythm that's given huge bassline pulse of Intelecto reminiscence. Epic Modern Love Sounds. Jus like in 2011, all reference points of genres heard here are contorted, abstracted and blown up to a full scale of subsonic fidelity. Tracks like "0L9" transmute house to a whole new degree of sunken deepness, while amid light footwork numbers and the harmonics in "Promises" and throughout "It Should Be Us", the record is a huge hello for dub music, club culture, tempos and convention.
Review: Following a long series of EPs dating back to the early 2010s, UK duo Psychemagik step up with their much-anticipated debut album. Opener 'We Can Be One' (featuring Quinn Lamont Duke) is a dreamy Balearic-pop-soul nugget and sets the tone nicely, with the album as a whole veering between Zero 7/Lemon Jelly-style leftfield pop (check out the cinematic 'Chimera', or 'Valley Of Paradise', which is like finding Simon & Garfunkel jamming with Nils Frahm in the chill-out room) and soaring, disco-fied deep house reminiscent of Faze Action (see 'Triumph Of The Gods' or 'Above The Clouds'). It's a little 'polite' at times, but an engaging listen all the same.
Review: While Emilio Acevdeo hasn't put out many releases as Lesser Drakar alias, he's no musical newcomer and has even worked with Gary Numan and Egyptian Lover in the past. Given this history, it's unsurprising that "Piramide 1" - a collection of madcap electronic tunes that he made for his DJ sets over a decade ago - is really rather good. Musically, it joins the dots between New York electro, cheeky 80 synth-pop, freestyle and new wave, adding a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek humour. There are tons of fine original cuts that include sneaky references to video game soundtracks, but it's his zany electro cover of Queen and David Bowie's "Another One Bites The Dust" that really set our pulses racing.
Review: Rua Sound have seemingly landed a gem of as EP here as they invite Sun People in to deliver a four track EP, drawing inspiration from across the full breadth of electronic dance music. We begin with the smooth jungle drum influences and colourful synths of 'Give It Up'. We then land into a more tribal-sound arrangement as 'Tackle It' combines high energy percussive rolls and scattered melodies to bring a dash of energy to the dance, before the title track 'These Days' rolls out more heavyweight sub tones and high-ended jungle breaks. We finish up with the clicky drum chomps and stunning soundscaping of 'Black Sphere', adding a nice contrast to see out the tracklisitng.
Review: French nu-jazz and electro-swing veteran Pascal Houpert, better known as Minimatic, returns to the Tour Eiffel label with this five-track EP. 'Doo Ding' comes on like electro-swing via Ninja Tune, the rap-vocalled 'Jump Down Flute' will please the backpackers and b-boys, 'Cinammon Song' is a more sedate affair that'd slot neatly into Balearic/downtempo sets, 'The Whistler' is a lively lil' workout for the jazz-dancers, and 'Rue De Siam' plays us out on a mournful, torch-y note. Throughout, Houpert's liberal use of loops and scratches injects a more contemporary danceloor energy that saves these tracks from being mere pastiche.
Review: UK label Sneaker Social Club - still reeling in 2019 from releases by Horsepower Productions, Basic Rhythm and Soundbwoy Killah (to name a few) - introduces Low End Activist to its roster. Source material for the record is said to come from a VHS recording of Muzikon Sound System documentation made in Blackbird Leys estate in Oxford in 1988, with the record drawing heavily on soundsystem culture and in particular its social function in the Afro-Caribbean communities. Futuristic drums and subtle bleep generation references can also be found in amongst the distorted boom and dub of a retro-active yet wholly futuristic and contemporary approach to bass music.
Review: Tommy Four Seven has commissioned remixes of tracks that featured on his acclaimed Veer album from earlier this year, getting some of electronic music's most respected electronic music involved. Machine Woman delivers a slow-paced tribal take on "Radius", while in a similar vein, Pessimist's version of "Dead Ocean" resounds to robust broken beats and industrial undercurrents. At the other end of the spectrum, Parrish Smith of L.I.E.S fame turns "Colony" into fast-paced, pulsating techno groove tailored for murky basements, while Silent Servant's remix of "Aphelion" is an atmospheric, acid-led electro workout. It's an essential remix collection.
Review: When we heard the news that Cimm had an album on the way, we could barely contain our excitement. When we then learnt it was to be featured on Sentry, our expectations tripled, and boy does Cimm deliver! The project takes the name 'Unknown Caller!!' and is a perfect embodiment of what today's deep dubstep scene represents, from the irresistible sub pressures of 'The Corner' alongside Rider Shafique to eastern-dub hybrids of 'Blue Sapphire' and lower tempo bass quakes of 'I Am Jack Travis'. The collaborations are fruitful on this one, as Cimm also invites Youngsta, Mr K, SGT Pokes, Riko Dan and Animai to take part in what is undoubtedly one of the strongest dubstep projects of the year.
Review: Hailing from California's Bay Area, Sudi Wachspress AKA Space Ghost should need little introduction to lovers of downtempo beats by now: this is his seventh long-player. More importantly, though, it's an album that's worth checking even if you're NOT normally a big fan of the style, because there's a much stronger dancefloor sensibility in evidence than on previous output. Opener 'Sea Snake Island', for instance, could easily slot into an early-doors deep house set, as could the vaguely melancholic 'Lavender Oil', while the title track has something of jazz fusion air about it. It all adds up to 50 minutes of really very pleasant listening indeed...
Review: Alchemy is the first record that Midland has released on his own imprint in three years, but it was worth the wait. It begins with the title track's live drums and out-there electronic squiggles that move up and down the intensity spectrum. On "Frequency FM", there are similarly rickety drums, shot through with rolling backbeats and mournful sounding electronic melodies that recall early Autechre work. "Play It As It Lays" continues the trend of contemporary producers drawing on hardcore influences, with whooping vocals unravelling over a teased out drum track. Last but not least is "Tortuga", a more atmospheric affair that stays away from the dance floor.
Review: Under the SJ Tequilla alias, Naota Matsuda has a track record for creating dreamy, otherworldly deep house that sounds like it could have been made by a bunch of loved-up Italians in 1989. He's at it again on his latest EP, where opener "Sanya" offers a near perfect fusion of hazy, machine-driven grooves, humid sounds, tropical melodies and chords so rich and delicious that might make you hallucinate. Matsuda also offers up his interpretation of turn of the 90s ambient house on the impeccable "Deolta", mixes clanking acid house and swirling electronics on "Sweat Salts 2" and takes us on a trip into the farthest reaches of the solar system on drowsy electronic number "The Day After". It all adds up to another inspired EP from the fast-rising producer.
Review: Laurent Garnier hooks up with Berlin producer Chambray for his first production in a few years. The fact that it has landed on Rekids is no surprise, as Garnier has been a longtime supporter of the label. In its original form, "Feelin' Good" sees the duo lay down a dramatic piano melody that surges and swells its way over a tracky rhythm and dramatic, building filters. It's both uplifting and functional. Radio Slave delivers two remixes: the first is a tough workout designed exclusively for maximum dance floor impact, while on the second 'Revenge' remix, the Rekids boss turns "Feelin' Good" into a thing of Balearic beauty thanks to the addition of rolling break beats.
Review: The team at Black Marble Collective have maintained an incredibly consistent high standard throughout the course of 2019, with this latest compilation providing the cherry for the metaphorical cake they really do deserve. They assemble a goliath 16 track collection including original heat from the likes of DJ Ends, Jah Bliddie, Andrew DIFF, Dev79 and more. For us there are a couple of stand out favourites, including 6Blocc's incredibly emotive rethink 'For Life', originally featuring A.Fruit. We also love the rave-ready basslines of Dom Corleone's 'Yo Body' VIP mix and the junglist slices of 'Underground' from Alexandre.
Review: Following on from last year's remixes of Artificial on ESP, Benedikt Frey returns to the label with some fresh material. "Interlinked" is a robust electro affair, bolstered by steely drums and tweaked acid that support an ominous vocal sample. It sets an ominous tone for the release. The mood remains the same but the delivery differs on "Pilot", where Frey lays down understated bass notes and gloomy atmospherics. While "Interlinked" sees him pick up the pace and resounds to a low-slung groove, it too boasts haunted vocal samples and eerie synths. The fuzzy, murky rhythm of "Pedal to the Metal" closes out this superb EP of electronic mood music.
Review: "The Barbican is such a special and powerful space, I've had many of my greatest live musical moments there," tells Max Cooper in an interview. Yearning for the Infinite follows Cooper's 2018 LP One Hundred Billion Sparks which comes through a commission that the Barbican Centre gave Max Cooper in being able to present a live audiovisual show in an attempt to capture what he defines as 'the overwhelming vastness of infinity' within Kulturquartier's "Betonhalle". Impressive. Much like Nils Frahm, Max Cooper hits on many a sweet note when venturing through his own interpretation of liminality, arriving with the sound of fizzing electronics and the hum of hardware, to field recordings, live drums and emotionally affecting synths lines. A trip from start to finish.