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Latest reviews

Lil Static Records has a reputation for delivering light touch rubs of classic hip-hop jams. The basic idea is to slightly beef up and tweak much-loved hip-hop faves while also making them slightly more DJ-friendly. That appears to be the case with their latest "45", which reps two stone cold classics from Mr Beyonce himself, Jay-Z. On the A-side you'll find a fine - if very similar - version of Alicia Keys hook-up 'Empire State of Mind', a colossal hit from the tail end of the last decade. Over on the flip the mysterious crew subtly tweaks Black Album favourite '99 Problems', in the process making a fuzzy, percussive classic even more scuzzy and low-slung.
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Mark De Clive Lowe - Midnight Snacks Vol 1
12"
$13.82
The first release on this new American label Mashi Beats was created at the peak of the 2020 Black Lives Matter social uprisings. It's a mix of swirling spiritual jazz and swaggering hip hop beats as well as deep, sunset house music. 'Joyful Resistance' (part 1) is a lush and heart swelling opener while the smooth grooves of 'Blue Hour' sure are seductive. On the flip, '37,000 Feet' is a broken beat excursions with dazzling synth work and 'Thanks Given' closes on a smiler tip but more late night, for those cosy basement jams.
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With the re-emergence of trance as a cool and contemporary dancefloor sound it should be no surprise that it has been finding a way back into the ambient and downtempo worlds, too, and as a cornerstone of many tracks no less. Greek academic and producer Tzoukmanis, who holds a PhD in Mathematics(specialising in Functional Analysis and Calculus of Variations), certainly seems to understand the power of those arpeggiated melodies. Having made music since 1995, you can also bet your bottom, top or any other dollar that his aural work is thoroughly accomplished, as this 2013 collection of tracks goes to show - here presented on vinyl for the first time. From subtly soaring harmonies and broken beats of 'Green Belt' to the plink-plonk, acid house infused beatless wonder, 'Free Hugs', everything resonates as much as it impresses.
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The truly special thing about a track like 'Tainted Love' is its malleability over time. The original elements touch on New Romanticism, New Wave, electro, and synth pop, creating a twisted and mutated version of the crooning troubadour that smacks of sticky dancefloor heat in subterranean haunts. With that in mind a remix collection could pretty much go anywhere, and in many ways this one does. Presenting several interpretations of this timeless and iconic tune, these range from the not-so-different instrumental and the strikingly powerful but simple acapella, through to DJ Hell's typically growly stomper, and the groovier, wavier Jack Ford and Jaimieson Hill cut. Oh, and don't forget the very DIY sounding bonus track, 'The Hungry Years', which is a whole different story in its own right, so we'll leave you to discover that one.
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Not to be confused with Alexandre Bazin, the Scottish philosopher, psychologist, logician and educational reformist who founded Mind, the world's first journal of analytical philosophy and psychology, this Alexandre Bazin - member of Parisian collective GRM (Groupe de Recherches Musicales) - returns to Polytechnic Youth to follow up 2017's Sun Dog Trail LP. And by that we mean another record of deeply textured soundscapes moulded using analogue synthesisers. Utilising, among other things, an EMS Synthi, Buchla Music Easel, Prophet and Moog, as you would expect this creates a vast feeling and wild variety of timbre. At times things feel rooted in classic rock 'n' roll sensibilities - 'Red Ochre', for example. In other moments we're closer to Can territory ('Dubes'), while the highest sonic peaks are arguably at similar altitude to bands like Explosions In The Sky ('It Comes In Waves'). Definitely not a record you'll forget in a hurry.
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The Cabaret Voltaire resurgence continues, not that Richard H. Kirk's groundbreaking electronic project every went away in the eyes and ears of disciples. Nevertheless, 2020's Shadow of Fear album was his first in 26 years under the celebrated moniker (now a solo show), and so it's no wonder people are lapping up every wave and ripple that record created. Enter BN9Drone, the latest offspring to arrive after the long form, and a release that may or may not be inspired by a drone flying over the BN9 postcode in Brighton, UK. If that was the catalyst, we want to know the make and model of the drone, because it certainly makes some pretty out-there noises. Opening on what sounds like aural evidence there is life up there in the stars, it's classic Cab Vol art-as-noise, noise-as-art, atmospheric stuff, so let's leave it at that.
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A reissue of the third LP from Brian Leeds, an American DJ and producer based on Brooklyn, originally from Kansas City, if this is your first time coming across his work then prepare for a pretty deep dive into lush, dreamy soundscapes, otherworldly drone, and adventurous aural effects, all of which are realised with a musicality that goes well beyond many digital composers. First unveiled to critical acclaim back in 2016, proof of concept is in the pudding here - one earful and you realise just how much here stands up to new productions today, explaining a little about why people were painting Huerco S as something of a visionary when the debut long form, Colonial Patterns, first arrived. Building on the blueprint laid out then, For Those Of You... is a rich and captivating ambient listening experience that's more than worthy of the spotlight second time round.
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