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DJ Best British Award 2009

Trevor Jackson tends to do things differently, so the recent announcement of nine EPs of previously unheard Playgroup material, to be released in the space of nine weeks, should have come as little surprise. Opener "Move My Body" is particularly strong, and features sampled Robert Owens vocals rising and falling over a cl Read more...

While Jack Hamill's Space Dimension Controller project is best known for mixing colourful electrofunk synths with intergalactic ambient, techno and hypnotic house influences, his earliest musical output trod a slightly different path. His long forgotten, digital-only debut album, 2009's Unidentified Flying Oscillator, exp Read more...
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DJ Marfox - Revolucao 2005-2008 (Boomkat Editions)

As London experiences its hottest week on record for the year what’s stopping us from imagining we are in fact in Lisbon. To help us make that feel more of a reality we’ve had the newfangled sounds of DJ Marfox’s formative years on our office stereo since it arrived - perfect timing. Marlon Silva, aka Marfox (whose name references Nintendo’s Starfox) is a foremost player of the kuduro scene, an Angolan born genre warmly adopted by the Portuguese. Revolucao 2005-2008 provides a cheery picked selection of the producer’s music from his formative years which made its way to CD in 2015 thanks to Nos Discos, however Boomkat Editions have taken it upon themselves to grant the record a deluxe vinyl release. Furthermore, compilation opener "Drift Furioso" - a standout highlight - and "Funk em Kuduro" found a previous release on Principe Discos’ 2006 release DJs Do Guetto Vol.1 compilation (which was reissued in 2013), while “Revolucao” is undeniably punk rock kuduro style. For some straight up clubbier sounds of kuduro check out "Aiue Remix" and for a groove that may confuse your dance check out “Sem Fronteiras”.

Schacke - Patterns Of Susceptibility EP (Ectotherm)

Winner of best cover art in 2016 goes to Ectotherm’s inaugural Patterns Of Susceptibility EP. New name Martin ‘Schacke’ provides Mama Snake and Courtesy (aka one half of Apeiron Crew) with their label’s first release - with our own Frank Mitchell travelling to Copenhagen to cover the record’s launch as part of a feature we ran on Apieron Crew this week. It’s been a tough time for techno of late, with many of our writers lamenting the lack of new and interesting sounds; thankfully this four-track record is sounding fresh! Dubby, atmospheric and scratchy like Marcel Dettmann’s earlier productions, the music on board channels into a linear style of production that will bring to mind other names like Exos and Steve O’Sullivan with a sharp European edge. "Nightclub Warrior" does, however, show tints of Detroit electro with its fluctuating synths making it for a perfect B2 cut, while the "Moss-Covered Structure" goes big room dub techno. For streamlined sounds and laced out grooves it’s all about the A-side though, with “Cavern Search” the go to track on the A1 while "Blind Pioneer" is a sweet alternative. A promising start.

Mogador - Overflow Pool (Further)

It’s been nothing but LPs from the Further camp this year with Strategy welcomed back to the Seattle platform with Information Pollution while Aquaplano’s Nuel delivered Hyperboreal, his first release since 2011 which may have divided opinion, but the production was ear splitting nevertheless. The label now welcomes Will Long’s Mogador alias with the wonderfully immersive Overflow Pool which is as blue in tone as the aqueous artwork. Said to be made with an electric piano and reel-to-reel delay, both long form productions play with space, atmosphere, gorgeous crackles and white noise with softly down struck chords of pure feeling. It’s a record to let ring through your house on a grey overcast Sunday as you make your coffee if the William Basinki or Gigi Masin records in your collection need some rotation.

Kassem Mosse - Chilazon (Honest Jon’s)

Honests Jon’s have seriously spoiled us this week with the release of Shackleton’s collaboration with Italian performance artist Ernesto Tomasini - scroll down for some more words on that - and this fresh three-track drop from Kassem Mosse. It provides Gunnar Wendel with a return to London’s most famous record boutique following last year’s remixes of Simone White, and his first solo record since his 2014 LP on Workshop. For many, the three tracks here provide listeners (and DJs) with some straight up and much needed Kassem Mosse club tackle. Dubby, drum machine heavy and sweetly sequenced, each track delivers its own obscure charm, with B2 cut a bobble of basslines and percussion that sounds like Eduardo de la Calle crossed with Substance. “Chilazon 2” shares a similar discombobulated rhythm to “Lanthanum” and it’s minimal to say the least, with the ping of an 808 hi-hat the most colourful sound of this production. The A-side’s lead cut, meanwhile, is funky - and full of life in comparison to the B-side - providing a lively additive to an otherwise downbeat, stripped back 12”. A fine prelude to the upcoming Mosse album for HJ.

Oddgrad - Propaganda Propaganda EP (Gang of Ducks)

Following a prolific 2014 which saw the veiled Gang of Ducks collective unleash a salvo of fresh sounds from the likes of S Olbricht, Dave Saved, Haf Haf and Tragg, the label’s production slowed somewhat in 2015. The quality of music, however, remained with records coming from Ital and that marvellous LP in XIII’s No (The Relative Effect Of Explication). The label’s first showing for 2016 comes from the not-so-easy-to-listen-to sounds of Oddgrad via a two-track 7” of contorted bows and strings that brings to mind the ‘chamber doom’ movements of Mohammed. Both tracks are nightmarish and classically inclined with a futuristic, out of shape club bent attached. If you were a fan of Rashad Becker’s sickly Traditional Music Of Notional Species Vol. I then we can’t recommend this highly enough. Industrial, classical ambient new age for the twisted.

Dices / Aem Rhythm Cascade – Thoughtstream (12th Isle)

Emerging from the bountiful folds of the Scottish underground, 12th Isle appears in label form having thrown some delectable parties in the past, largely centred around Glasgow. The artwork alone is a joy to behold, not a surprise given 12th Isle resident Al White regularly collaborates with House Of Traps for Firecracker sleeves, but the music itself is from entirely it’s own time and place. Dices has been spotted on top Russian label Udacha in the past, as has AEM Rhythm Cascade under the Dada Ques moniker. Following a curious 7” single last year, the duo join forces once again for a stunning long player that sports many different rhythmic shades but remains bound together by a focus on rich synthesizer plumage. At every turn the sound is swirling, psychedelic and warm, without ever losing the weirdness. It’s unlikely you’ll hear anything else quite like it this year.

Silver Waves – EP3 (Portals Editions)

With a strong, steady back catalogue from Circular Ruins, Noumeno, Ketev and Gainstage amongst others, Berlin’s Portals Editions are clear in their mission to bring challenging noise operators to the fore. The industrialisms are flying out thick and fast from Silver Waves’ studio on this release, with both “V” and “VI” throwing down jungle-like percussive intensity, but using a hard metallic drum set instead of breaks and flying in searing layers of high frequency noise. The original material is noteworthy enough, but then the remix side brings its own high levels of intrigue. First up Ossia brings that menacing, sinister style that made his Blackest Ever Black release so compelling, turning “VI” into a beyond the grave lurker. Giant Swan meanwhile keep things noisy, albeit with more space and restraint than the original “V” had.

Shackleton with Ernesto Tomasini – Devotional Songs (Honest Jon’s)

By now all bets are off as to where Shackleton will direct his meandering career, each project and indulged concept a compelling new twist to one of the true auteurs of our time. Working with Italian poet Ernesto Tomasini was perhaps not a predictable move, but the end results fit in the same curious way that Vengeance Tenfold and Jackson Del Ray have managed to on earlier Shack’ productions. The tunes themselves are on the more delicate side, using a light chiming and organic percussive palette and matching it with synthetic textures, but there’s a lot of depth to these seemingly simple creations. At times the whole end result feels like an experimental musical, such is the lyrical nature of Tomasini’s performance, but even in the more measured moments the music is nothing short of spellbinding.

ENA – Distillation (Latency)

You may have come across ENA as an alumni of the experimental dubstep and drum & bass fields, orbiting around labels like 7even and Samurai Horo, but it’s been increasingly evident that the Japanese artist’s music goes far beyond such standard club-defined realms. Considering the trajectory of the Latency label follows a similar pattern, this release feels like a perfectly natural meeting of minds. ENA sports plenty of percussive accents in his music, but rather than playing a dominant role the beat moves in harmony with the rich layers of texture and tone that give all the tracks on Distillation their captivating atmosphere. At times the polyrhythmic cascades seem to drift off into the billows of synthesis that linger in the distance, at times the groove seems unshakable, but vitally everything evolves in a most natural of ways. From the rippling sound design to the soul-stirring melodic sweeps, this is a remarkable, highly developed release.

Glass Domain – Glass Domain (Clone Aqualung Series)

Clone previously tackled reissuing this gem from the Drexciyan vaults back in 2003, and now they’re letting it get another airing 25 years after it originally came out on Pornophonic Sound Disc. Gerald Donald has turned to a lot of different shades of electro over the years, but this Glass Domain release is a particular gem as it harks back to a very early stage in his career, long before the austere presentation of Dopplereffekt or Arpanet. It’s the human quality of his sometimes naïve vocal delivery on these tracks that makes the record so charming, not to mention the excellent, succinct drum machine funk behind it. “Interlock” is especially fantastic, coming on like sublime synth pop, while “Shatter Prone” provides a little foresight to the Drexciyan muscle that was to ensure over the coming years. Mind you, it’s hard to imagine the Donald of today singing about his hiccups.