Review: Cong Burn continues to exercise one of the most promising instincts for future-minded music on this, their third release. It's surprising they haven't done more previously, considering the maturity of their curation, but either way the quality remains at an all time high here, leading in with some light and liquefied 4/4 sonics from Chekov before pirouetting into one of Duckett's illustrious abstractions around the techno blueprint. Label regular Lack is back on side B with the stern and punchy "Track 3," and then Haddon finishes the record off with "Anabiosis," a densely textured, slow creeping trip of a track.
Review: Japanese junglist Ishio Dai presses up another Effective96 heavyweight handstamped white. Harnessing the magic of Skatalite's Jonny Moore on both sides, "Mirage" takes us deep into his own cloudy atmospheric universe upon a rolling jazz-minded drum arrangement while "Island Dub" strips everything right back to the crucial constituent parts to allow each rhythmic and dubbed element to sing. Singular.
Review: Blank Mind return with their first release since last year's all conquering Goron Sound platter from the Alan Johnson duo, and it's the turn of label founder Sam Purcell to show off his production skills once more as Dance. Lead track "Heyvalva, Heyvalva, Hey" is distinctively named and you are unlikely to forget the track once you hear it either, which plays out like a bizarro version of Demdike Stare's "Hashashin Chant". Whereas as that track was darkness personified, Dance's production is all about the lightness that surrounds the heavily chopped vocal that acts as a focal point as drums snap in and out of action. "Bottomless Pit" is however a much darker production, with loose half step 909 rhythms cascading in an erratic fashion almost in reaction to the sheer terror of the squalling synth tones and jagged junglist basslines. The sense of dystopian dread is only magnified by the foreboding titular vocal sample that repeats itself with a sense of desperation.
Review: London's Dark Sky trio have come a long way over the last three years, first appearing on the mighty 50 Weapons, then jumping on to Mister Saturday Night's catalogue, and now landing most vertically on Germany's Monkeytown - quite impressive if you ask us! The NTS Radio residents serve up "Voyages", a wonky techno side-stepper complete with tribal percussion and a distinct UK feel. Remix duties are taken care of by Francis Inferno Orchestra, who deliver a hypnotic and floor-ready version of the original, and techno God Reshape with his slithering, ultra-stripped back version. Another class act from Monkeytown camp.
Review: DJ Firmeza's 2015 debut, "Alma Do Meu Pai", was a gloriously bass-heavy, multi-cultural melting pot of 21st century dancefloor sounds that perfectly encapsulated the Lisbon scene from which he emerged. This belated sequel is equally as thrilling, with bombastic opener "Avan" setting the tone via heavy, Kuduro-influenced drums, layered tribal percussion hits, clonking melodies and urgent vocals. "Intenso" is if anything even sweatier and more percussively punchy, while "RRRRRR" is a thrusting chunk of wild tribal techno rich in dense drums and voodoo vocal yelps. As for "25", its another off-kilter drum workout just crying out for peak-time plays.
Review: Lithuanian new breed fusionist DJ JM makes his debut on TSVI & Wallwork's Nervous Horizon with his largest, and arguably broadest, EP to date. Smelting down the essence and energy of techno, electro and bass, each of the five tracks hit some pretty far-out spots; "No Days Off" is the big slammer of the pack with its nagging percussive riff and sci-fi tribal vibe, "Ray Mound" flips into a tom-thumping breakbeat swing while "Mad Move" is utter drum drama, all insistent, stripped back and pounding. Finally we have "Bar Bell", where chimes fold and melt into each other as a driving techno rhythm device pings up and down the spectrum, and "Original Taste". The wonkiest cut of the bunch, it's JM's homage to both the local clubs in which he cut his teeth and the faraway worlds he's currently taking us to. No rest for the wicked.
Review: Last spotted on Warp on the inaugural volume of their Cargaa series in 2015, Nigga Fox returns to the UK institution with his debut label EP "Cranio". As always with the Lisbon underground kingpin, fusion and ardent experimentalism characterise the project as we're shifted and beguiled in equal measure at the rising paranoid acid tendrils on "Sinistro", the thumping obese kicks on "Poder Do Vento", the jarring techno necksnap of "Maria Costa", the lucid dreaminess of "KRK", the obscenely tripped-out voodoo instrumentation on "Waaba-Jah" and accordion squeezing technoid sketch "Karma". Singular.
Review: Fresh from remixing Goldie classic "Crystal Clear" for the veteran producer's reissue of 1997 album "Saturnz Return", Djrum (real name Felix Manuel) offers up his first single in nearly two years. "Hard To Say" seemingly surges from the speakers, with ambient style deep space chords, blissful female vocal snippets and tactile aural textures rising above a blisteringly fast techno beat. This high-octane pace continues on "Tournesol", a cheerily positive affair that wraps chiming, new age style melodies and humid tropical flourishes around another sweaty, non-stop beat. Like the A-side, it's impressively ear pleasing but also percussively intense, especially when the Aphex Twin style mind-altering acid lines make an appearance midway through.
Review: Brand new label from House Of Wax: Jupiter's Moon touch down with two highly sought-after rubs from the touchingly talented Djrum. Taking two meditative system smokers from London nine-piece The Drop, Djrum flexes in two distinct ways; "Looking To The Sky" gets an upbeat two-step twist that's not dissimilar to old Kromestar joints while "Takeover" wallows much deeper in the dubwise aesthetics as a slinkier two-step riddim bubbles beneath a much heavier bed of textures, pads and mbira. On dub since 2011 and still smouldering to this day, these are vinyl only and not likely to hang around. You know what to do.
Review: "Parallel Universe" is The Dude Of Stratosphear's debut single, featuring the Thai rapper MC Sinnamon. Real name Jerome Doudet, he is a Swiss/French artist and bass player based in Bangkok, Thailand. A DJ, vinyl collector, musician, graphic designer and East Asian music connoisseur, The Dude Of Stratosphear was groomed in the vibrant alternative scene of Geneva, Switzerland. He presents here an cosmic trip between the heat of Chennai's bazaars and Bangkok's chaotic streets. Said to be based on a rare Indian library sample, "Wat That Tong" features samples of Thailand molam queen Yenjit Porntavi, plus a modern dub beat and Indian percussion.
Review: Chow Down serves up its second release with the adventurous grime exploits of Fallow and DJ Chalice, twisting out all kinds of audacious bass shapes that would set the dance alight at parties such as Boxed. Fallow takes the A side with confidence, fresh from a release on Blood Frenzy, and "Blitz" shows the emergent producer is taking no prisoners with a hail of bullets and haunting Indian classical samples. "Northern Don" is a more wobbly synth-rich beat, while "Operation Dark Fruit VIP" amps up the grime strings. DJ Chalice has a lighter touch, bringing in some sunnier melodics and embracing the RnB influences on "Artois Anthem".
Review: Take a look at the artists to grace the A-side of Decadubs 4 and you'll find a collection of names that have released some of this year's most talked about albums: Lee Gamble, Inga Copeland, The Bug and Fatima Al Qadiri. The B-side, however, hosts Hyperdub regulars like Ikonika and DVA, and the boss Kode9 of course, to more intriguing names like footworker DJ Earl and Jeremy Greenspoon & Borys who have previously released music on Dan Snaith's Jiaolong label. Dean Blunt also appears with a jazzy ambient cut, while Cooly G does the same with the sombre, vocal-driven "Mind".
Review: Hyperdub kick off the vinyl side to their ten-year celebrations with this weighty four-tracker from some of the leading lights from the label's story. Mala is in a strident mood with "Expected, Level 10" carrying through that extra touch of melody from the Mala In Cuba LP. DVA cuts loose with the leftfield scattershot groove of "Technical Difficulties", reveling in tonal experimentation and jagged rhythmic flair to a stunning end. Still locked into the sci-fi trap tangent that characterised Severant, Kuedo turns out the haunting "Mtzpn" and Helix pops up for a remix of Kode9's "Xingfu Lu" that strips down to bare essentials with a little starlit soul rubbed into the framework.
Review: As his career has developed and matured, so Xavier Thomas' sounds has broadened ever further. Never afraid of a concept and constantly looking to take in influence from all over the world, the Debruit mission last shored up on Soundway alongside Alsarah. Now Outside The Line pivots around the idea of washing up on an imaginary island, and it finds Thomas working his effervescent electronics up into joyous melees of tropical flavoured trap and footwork. There's space for playful, dubby house music and speedy bass music, but as always the generic framework plays second fiddle to the rambunctious melodic content.
Review: Felipe Salmon and Rafael Pereira aka Dengue Dengue Dengue's third album is an exploration of Afro-Peruvian musical traditions laced with their usual sense of so-called tropical futures and off beat rhythmic patterns. It makes for hypnotic grooves that are loose and jumbled, organic and fully authentic especially when members of the Ballumbrosio family, who are experts in traditional rhythmic styles like lando, festejo and crioullo music, as well as traditional dances and instruments like the quijada, have helped create this album. Fleshing out the drums are fizzes and woodblocks, smeared synthwork and occasional Latin vocals that drift to the top as the bass roams down low. An intoxicating listen that transports you to another world entirely.
Review: We don't usually condone lying here at Juno, but when you tell seven of them across a beautiful nine track debut album, it's absolutely acceptable. Applaudable, even. Highlights across this deep, tightly woven bass adventure include the Portishead-style trippy dubtronica of "Comos Los Cerdos", the somnambulant drones and breathy washes of "Lies", the nagging techno loopery of "Dam" and the trembling graveyard soul of "Arcana".
Review: Let's go back to 2013; the year when a young Felix Manuel released his debut album Seven Lies. It followed a string of successful broken beat/beat fusions followed by his sophomore album "Portrait With Firewood" that was received with critical acclaim. Six years later, Seven Lies enjoys a long-awaited repress and it still sounds just as warm, immersive and molten as did all those years ago. The voluptuous folds and rolls of "Dam", the pensive space and heavy atmospheric pressure of "Lies" and the beautiful euphoric fizz of the finale "Thankyou", the list of highlights go on. Grab this if it's not in your collection already.