Neel - Phobos (Spectrum Spools)
The famous 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet isn’t the only thing making otherworldly music this week
- Neel’s debut album Phobos
also sounds like the song of cosmic rays bouncing off moon rocks. Known for his part in the Voices From The Lake project alongside Donato Dozzy, Neel steps out on his own for Spectrum Spools, and frankly it isn’t really comparable to anything we’ve heard this year. If you’re looking for some ambient music to zone out to, it doesn’t come any deeper that this - a full review from James Manning can be read here
Bloom - Hydraulics (Crazylegs)
The tidal wave of killer brilliant instrumental grime continues with this killer EP from Bloom on Crazylegs. Known for his previous form on Gobstopper and Lost Codes, the Hydraulics
EP takes his digital sound into more deconstructed realms. It’s not disssimilar to the recent work of Mumdance and Logos, though Bloom’s musical structures are even more disconnected from reality, sounding like you’d imagine a cubist sculpture of a spacecraft engine’s inner workings to look.
Tim Sweeney/Various - Beats In Space 15th Anniversary (Beats In Space)
News that "little Timmy" Sweeney’s Beats In Space show has reached the age of 15 this year is likely to make a lot of people (including us) feel very old. However, Sweeney has offered us a chance to take a very welcome trip down memory lane with this CD compilation, featuring two sets mixed up by Sweeney himself. The first disc collects new and exclusive tracks, while the second is a set of all-time BiS classics - the appearance of Baby Oliver’s “Shot Caller” and The Loving Hand remix of Naum Gabo’s "Pictur" was enough to give certain members of the Juno Plus team flashbacks. Look out for the voicemail cameos from Sweeney's biggest fan too. For those who want the exclusives unmixed, there’s also a tasty 3LP version
Move D - The KM20 Tapes Volume 2 (1992 - 1996) (Off Minor)
Last year Jordan Czamanski’s Off Minor Recordings released The KM20 Tapes Volume 1 (1992 - 1996)
, a collection of tracks from the vaults of Move D that sounded oddly prescient in today’s lo-fi, analogue-obsessed climate. It was easily one of the best records of 2013, making the arrival of the second volume of material from the same period very good news indeed. Like the first volume, the second displays a craftsmanship representative of the stature of a producer like David Moufang, with the dubby piano jack of “Willenlos”, stuttering acid of “Evil Trak” and futuristic grooves of “Inside The Dollhouse” sounding fresher than the ideas of most contemporary producers.
The Cyclist - Flourish (All City)
Irish producer The Cyclist was one of last year’s breakthrough producers thanks to the unexpected delights of the Bones In Motion
album on Leaving Records. He’s back on Dublin’s All City with his follow-up, Flourish,
and it takes his tape-saturated techno sound into even more sumptuous places. It’s hard to put a finger on just why Flourish
is so irresistible - he’s not doing anything with hardware hundreds of other producers aren’t doing - but there’s a combination of crunch and heartstring-tugging melody throughout that makes this an album not to be ignored.
The Skull Defekts - Street Metal EP (Diagonal)
Another month, another great record from Diagonal. Keeping us on our toes as ever, this latest EP comes from an unexpected quarter - Swedish band The Skull Defekts. Despite one of its members being iDEAL and Börft’s Joachim Nordwall, the music is very much guitar-based “psycho-glam swagger” rather than the synthesizer-crafted techno we’ve come to expect from the label. That isn’t to say these tracks wouldn’t work on the dance floor - if you’ve seen label co-head Powell DJing you’ll know he can make a room move with anything, and “Holy Drums” is one track likely to send people into a spin.
Akkord - HTH030 (Houndstooth)
Earlier this year Akkord released the HTH020
EP on Houndstooth, in which the duo took their bass-heavy club sound into darker territory. This inspired remix single sees two very appropriate artists offering their own take on Akkord’s sound, delving further into the murkier depths of the EP and coming out with some inspired reworks. Vatican Shadow turns “Greyscale” and “Typeface” into a surprisingly smooth piece of peak-time techno, but it’s The Haxan Cloak’s amalgamation of bits from each original track that’s bound to turn heads, turning it into a 10-minute wall of nightmarish sound.
DJ Milktray - All Because The Lady Loves (Astral Black)
Burberry-loving Glaswegian DJ Milktray has been simmering under with his 8-bar edits for a few years now, with his tunes being a regular fixture at London grime night Boxed. Here Astral Black releases his debut EP, featuring his killer bootleg of R Kelly’s “Hotel”, which has been floating around since last year. The three accompanying tracks are just as delicious as his Cadbury-referencing alias suggests, and tick all the same boxes as Finn’s brilliant “Keep Calling”, released on Local Action earlier this year.
Samrai meets Rüf Dug - At The Dane Bank Observatory (Unknown To The Unknown)
Unknown To The Unknown has been on an impressively diverse tip this year - it’s probably the only label where a Willie Burns record can sit next to an EP from Mumdance and not feel out of place. The label’s latest release puts two similarly diverse producers onto one collaborative record, with Swing Ting resident Samrai joining forces with Rüf Kutz man Rüf Dug, throwing their respective hats into the genre mixer and coming out with two very unique club tracks. The accompanying remixes from Mood Hut producer Hashman Deejay and Zanzibar Chanel are just the icing on the cake.
K15 - Insecurities EP (Wild Oats)
Kyle Hall's Wild Oats label has been uncommonly quiet this year, but there's more quality in both Jay Daniel's Karmatic Equations
EP and the Insecurities
doublepack from K15 than the entire discography of most other house labels. K15 may hail from London, but his take on house music is very much informed by the soulful strains of Detroit's musical heritage, with the wistful pads of "Gratitude" and the fluttering piano of "Yellow" some of the year's most sumptuous house moments. Look out for "GWRH", an unexpectedly great homage to "Gypsy Woman".