Review: ** Repress ** Having distinguished themselves with a series of superb retrospective releases highlighting the work of Leon Lowman, Gigi Masin and Joan Biblioni, Amsterdam label Music From Memory deviate from the path somewhat with his long overdue Gaussian Curve album. Ask yourself what would happen when a elderly Venetian who specialises in sublime ambient music spends a weekend holed up in a Redlight district studio with two of his biggest, most musically gifted fans. The superb Clouds is the answer, with 'Young' Marco Sterk and Jonny Nash following Masin's lead on an eight track exercise in sumptuous, calming composition. The wait has truly been worth it.
Review: Having been uncovered by International Feel late last year, the archival Balericisms of Len Leise now make their way over to the similarly minded Aficionado label. The five tracks on this dashing red 12" were apparently sourced from a rare cassette of rainforest swelter, and it's up to you, the consumer, how much of your time you invest in this fanciful backstory to Leise's work. Should you choose to put it to one side, you will be rewarding with a wondrous array of delicate electronics and organic instrumentation that is wholly captivating from the moment "Asmat Images" locks into groove. As with previous output on Aficionado, this won't be on the shelves for long!!
Thought Our Love Was Strong (Romanowski vs Bing Ji Ling remix)
See Me Through (Coyote Dub mix)
Review: Uber Recordings' latest release see the legendary Bing Ji Ling make an appearance. See Me Through featuring the sweet vocals of Diane Birch is a sunkissed slice of California soul. A beautiful heartfelt love song oozing quality. Live instrumentation and a tight arrangement creating a real classic song. The second track, the Romanowski remix of Thought Our Love Was Strong is something a little different. Tropical digital reggae vibrations all over Bing's sweet soulful smokey vocals.and bluesy guitar. West Coast Collie weed poolside stylee.
The B side is Coyote's reworking of See Me Through. Throbbing disco sub bass loops and dubbed out vocal samples with extra percussion and funky guitars layering over house beats build up to a vocal break down, before dropping back in with all guns blazing. Big smiles and dancing guaranteed.
Review: Launched last year, the Balearic Blah Bah label has become a fine platform for a certain Danish producer whose initials are KBE to flex his scalpel skills at some of the rarities and oddities that make up the Balearic genre. A sixth release arrives, suggesting KBE is nowhere near to exhausting his archive of material and this 12" features another quartet of cuts that will find favour with the more horizontally inclined selectors out there. Head straight to "Run For Fun" if you want some classic Compass Point vibes, whilst B side jazz funk burner "Chak Hahn" is a real diamond of a track. The moment that Moog line gives way to a wondrous "La La La" vocal harmony really hits the spot
Review: Brought to wider attention on a fine (Emotional) Especial record last year, Romanian duo Khidja return here with a equally interesting record for Love On The Rocks. Paramida's label dressed to impress in its first year of business thanks to records from Mass Pagliara, Ess O Ess, and Telephones and Khidja make worthy additions with Looki. The original version is as transcendental as anything Khidja have previously put their name to and it's complemented well by a trio of superb remixes from Lauer, Fantastic Man, and Africaine 808. Of this triplet, it's Phillip Lauer who shines the brightest on a remix that positively drips with emotion.
Review: This marks the debut of Double Knots. You may not recognise the name, but you already know the constituents: Toby Tobias and Daniel Mode. Setting out with the simple premise to make music that tickles your head as much as your feet, the pair have struck sonic gold. "Remote Control Memory" is a bubbling groove infinity pool that stares out to a sun that never quite sets, "Double Vision" is slightly more upbeat with more of a dancefloor twist that's not dissimilar to Prins Thomas's early work while "Vital Connection" flies us off into the very top of earth's atmosphere on a sumptuous bed of synths and percussive elements. Beautifully blurry.
Review: Avalanche are none other than the talented Nicolas Jaar and Sasha Spielberg, who have decided to embark on a new project spanning downtempo, modern classical and ambient all wrapped up in a gorgeous shade of house. "Just Friends" is a mesmerising, slow-tempo excursion across crackling beats and mild atmospherics with a folky edge. There's two fine remixers on the go, with Rvng International's Julia Holter delivering a more cinematic beatless version, and Henry Laufer aka Shlohmo going for a broken, future bass kinda vibe on his re-interpretation of the tune. A wonderfully enchanting twenty minutes of electronic psychedelia.
Review: After 15 years of live space-rock improvisations and jam sessions around Europe, Bambi Davidson finally got round to delivering their second LP last month. Warmly received by old fans and new, here we find the title track repurposed as an extensive 13 minute exercise in spatial expressionism. Dreamy, deep and full of endless twists and turns, this is the epitome of modern cosmicity. Claremont never cease to surge forward.
Review: Finnish film composer Headrooms makes his debut on Dutch beat institution Groove College. Graduating with distinction, both cuts sparkle with dreamy, densely textured soul while slouching on beautifully slo-mo breakbeats. "Pillow Talk" is straight out the Nightmares On Wax playback; all emotional and string-laced. "Silly Chats" looks more towards the smokier trip-hop sound of the early 90s (think Cold Cut or very early Shadow) with the same great laidback effect. An immaculate debut.
Review: More highly-sought after reissue madness from the monumental Medical Records! These guys push just about any kind of outsider music that's worth a penny or two in the second-hand market, and we're forever grateful to them for that. Laika's first album from 1994, Silver Apples Of The Moon, was and still is one of the best and most original indie rock LP's ever made. Originally out on the Too Pure imprint, this bad boy hasn't seen a vinyl reissue in a long while, and it was about time given it's forward-thinking approach and utterly fresh take on the indie umbrella. In fact, it is albums like these that have rendered the rock scene so free, and track like "Sugar Daddy" or "Let Me Sleep" are still highly relevant today. Laika's cutting-edge percussion style, where tight drums loops at high speeds, is layered over stripped vocals and minimal melodies. A heavily recommended album and an absolutely fantastic find from Medical.
Review: Tropics - AKA singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Chris Ward - deals in a smooth and spare electronic sound, in which the love of '80s Peter Gabriel and Arthur Russell that he grew up is parlayed into yearning songs that are both stylishly understated and emotionally engaging. Never less than inventive and melancholically melodious, 'Rapture', his second album, makes for an exquisite litany of heartache and regret, as Ward delivers the kind of late night tales that will be manna to anyone whose tastes veer in the direction of Sade, James Blake and The XX alike.