Review: Boom! Finally another reissue of Boards Of Canada's seminal Hi Scores LP from 1996! Along with the likes of Aphex Twin, LFO and Squarepusher, these guys have helped to define how we see electronic music today and this particular LP is arguably their most complete when it comes to the dancefloor. The title track is a twisted, floaty bindle of breaks and beats, but it doesn't end there. Tracks like "Nlogax" are inherently Detroitian in nature thanks to the bleepy drum machines inside, and all we can say is that if you haven't laid hands on this album yet, you shouldn't miss the opportunity to cop it now. It's still so relevant and contemporary, it hurts.
Review: Under the A Vision of Panorama alias, Mikhail Khavsko has released some of the most beguiling nu-Balearic music of the past few years. Aquafusion is his long-awaited debut album, and is sure to further enhance his already high reputation. Drawing on sun kissed synthesizer grooves, languid nu-disco and hazy pop for inspiration, the album boasts all manner of ear-pleasing highlights. These include the new age inspired ambient slinkiness of "Open Sequences", the Gigi Masin style bliss of "Seagulls", the mid-'80s synth-pop-goes-dancing bounce of "Barbados", and the baked, horizontal pop of "Duality" (which notably features the drowsy vocals of Krista Michaela).
Review: Alexis Georgopoulos, aka Arp, is based in Brooklyn, New York. Drawing on elevated kosmische atmospheres, minimalist classical composition, library, glam and leftfield disco influences, he has released music on RVNG, Beats In Space, Type, Opal Tapes and Emotional Response plus presented in galleries and like MoMA PS1 and the New Museum. A mutant offspring of diverse stylings, 2018's expansive Zebra LP is a post-everything symbiosis of ancient to future psychotropics. Using forward-looking production techniques, the album is a vast, shimmering prospect that emphasises points of connectivity, and pleasantly disrupts outdated boundaries between musical traditions, hierarchies and genre politics.
Emanuel Satie - "Don't Forget To Go Home" (feat Annjet)
Sophie Lloyd - "Calling Out" (feat Billy Cobham - radio edit)
Betina Bager & Brian O - "Cap Verde"
Copenema - "Deix A Musica Tocar" (alternative mix)
Ambala - "Calypso Beach"
Review: Danish scene veteran and Music For Dreams overlord Kenneth Bager is undoubtedly one of the best Balearic DJs around. He has umpteen residencies on the White Isle, but it's his association with the beachside Jockey Club venue in Salinas that has become the most celebrated - thanks, in no small part, to his now annual, two-disc mix-ups. This year's edition - the sixth in total - is every bit as beguiling as its predecessors. It features a slowly shifting, soft-focus mixture of European new age favourites, sun-kissed jazz-pop, classic-sounding chill-out fare, slow motion disco, superb acoustic workouts, dub-wise electronica, contemporary dream house and spacey Balearic floor-fillers. Oh, and one of the tunes of 2018, Sophie Lloyd's gospel disco smasher "Calling Out".
Review: Five years have passed since Andrew Bayer made a big impression with his silky second album, "If I Were You, I'd Never Leave". While informed by his progressive house and Washington D.C techno roots, it was a largely downtempo and laidback affair that suited sofa-bound listening sessions more than sweaty club sets. This belated follow-up takes a similarly head-in-the-clouds approach, serving up a sensual selection of sweet songs that variously touch on Balearic two-step (the glistening "Open End Resource"), post-dubstep pop ("Hold On To You", the deliciously bass-heavy "Immortal Lover"), sweeping, hands-aloft trip-hop anthems ("Love You More") and melodius, radio-friendly dancefloor workouts ("Your Eyes", "End Of All Things").
Review: Emotional Rescue label boss Stuart Leath is particularly excited about this release, and it's not hard to see why. While Spanish singer/songwriter Javier Bergia is not widely known in the UK, his releases - either solo, or as part of the Finas Africae and Arium Musicae groups - are held in high regard by those of a Balearic persuasion. Eclipse is something of a treat, gathering together the best of Bergia's solo work from 1985 to the present day. Featuring Bergia's spoken and sung vocals atop a mix of gentle acoustics, atmospheric strings, delay-laden percussion and subtle global rhythms, Eclipse impresses from start to finish. It should be essential listening for anyone with even the tiniest interest in Balearica.
Review: Black Sands, the eagerly anticipated fourth album from Simon Green AKA Bonobo, is no revolutionary change from his signature sound but does come with perhaps even more subtlety and complexity than his previous offerings. Having constantly instilled a degree of integrity and value back into chill out music following the influx of Cafe Del Mar and Coffeeshop compilations, Green once again displays a musicianship that sets him apart as a true artist and producer amongst a sea of downtempo and chillout DJs. His undeniably clear understanding of composition and arrangement of live instruments has enabled Green to make an album that reaches out through diverse styles, taking influence and inspiration from wherever possible. On Black Sands, Green delves into electronic music and bass more than he did across Animal Magic, Dial "M" For Monkey or Days To Come but does so with enough subtlety and finesse to refrain from causing a radical shift in his product. Tracks like "Kiara," "We Could Forever" and "All In Forms" all utilise beats and bass in a more contemporary outlook than we are used to with Bonobo. Of course the instrumental feel is still there for all to see. Title track "Black Sands" takes this position for almost seven minutes of a horn infused waltz whereas "Kong" assumes the traditional soul-jazz Bonobo take and "Animals" lets delicate drum patterns guide us through pleasing tempo shifts. The instrumental vibe is highlighted further in the album's approach to vocals. Unlike his last album, Days To Come which was littered with vocals, Black Sands houses only three tracks that contain vocals. The breathy vocals of Andreya Triana complete tracks like "Stay the Same" and "The Keeper" turning them in more traditional songs. Black Sands is another loving crafted offering that uses orchestral arrangements but this time merged with more of a dance aesthetic. As he continues to make chillout more credible in his experimental way, it's no wonder that Bonobo is one of the biggest artists to come from the excellent Ninja Tune.
Earth Trax & Newborn Jr - "If You" (feat Annjet - club mix)
John Beltran - "Collage Of Dreams"
Review: For their first foray into the mix market following the conclusion of their original, 100-volume series, London superclub Fabric has decided to offer up a rare DJ mix from genre-defying producer Simon Green AKA Bonobo. It's his first mix of any sort since 2013 and it is really rather good. Beautiful, picturesque, melodious and fluid, the mix not only includes heaps of previously unheard material from the man himself, but also touches on a dizzying number of styles (most notably ambient, loved-up deep house, African and South American drum music, IDM, electronica, techno, electro-soul, broken beat and dreamy breaks). That it all hangs together brilliantly is testament to Green's impeccable DJing and production skills.
Review: "Ma Fleur" is the first full studio album by Jason Swinscoe's Cinematic Orchestra since 2002's "Everyday". The record was written as the soundtrack to a specially commissioned screenplay for an imagined film (which may or may not be made). Shortly after finishing "Everyday", a piece of music which achieved great critical and commercial success, Jason Swinscoe relocated from East London to Paris. Here he began work on the instrumentals which would form the basis of his new record - more moods than finished tracks, a series of sketches or diagrams of directions to follow. Having completed a rough version by early 2005, he gave this to a friend who disappeared for three weeks and came back with short story scripts in which each scene represented a story of a different time in life, expressing the emotions which underpin the journey from birth to death. Jason then took this and worked some more on the tracks, and in turn gave this back to his scriptwriter, the two aspects of the project developing alongside one another. Gradually, Swinscoe recruited suitable vocalists for the atmospheres and themes he wanted to deal with. The remarkable Fontella Bass, who is now sadly in frail health, is the woman behind both legendary soul number "Rescue Me" as well as some of the Art Ensemble of Chicago's finest moments, had worked on "Everyday" and was an obvious choice to voice the parts of the elderly protagonist that Swinscoe envisaged. Mercury-nominated Lou Rhodes is not only a fantastic singer but a young mother and so perfect for the "mid-life" singer. The as-yet unheralded Patrick Watson, a remarkable vocalist from Montreal, became the youngest of the trio.
Review: Back in 2011, Nicolas Jaar joined forces with fellow Clown & Sunset contributor Dave Harrington for the Darkside EP, an impressive trio of untitled tracks that pitted the former's scratchy, near-paranoid production style against the latter's penchant for lo-fi indie-rock inspired fuzziness. Here, the duo dusts down the Darkside alias once more for a first collaborative album. Predictably, it's an impressive set, offering a collection of downtempo tracks that shuffle between crackly, out-there atmospherics ("Sitra", reminiscent of much of Jaar's Space is Only Noise album), echo-laden alt-rock experimentalism ("Heart") and heart-aching fragility (the James Blake-ish "Greek Light").
Review: Last year, long-serving "global pop" innovators Deep Forest (now a solo project by co-founder Eric Mouquet) returned to action with a collaborative album co-penned by fellow "Worldbeat" veteran Daniele Gaudi. Here Moquet presents the first solo Deep Forest set since 2015, a breezy and sun-kissed set inspired by the music of Brazil. What you get is a dreamy and effortlessly melodious blend of indigenous rhythms, electronic instrumentation, dreamy chords, heartfelt vocals (in this case largely in Portuguese), ambient atmospherics and slow-motion synth-pop sensibilities. There are few surprises, but then you wouldn't expect them: after all, Mouquet is a master at producing this kind of accessible pop. If you're a fan of Deep Forest, you'll love it.
Review: Three years on from his last acclaimed outing on Endless Flight, Berlin-based Canadian Eddie C returns to the Japanese label with another high quality full-length excursion. Those who've followed his career over the last six or seven years will feel at home straight away. Opener "Hello baby" is a quirky, break-driven head-nodder rich in dub disco bass and quirky samples, while the cut that follows, "Carbon Date", offers a deeper and more spacey take on the same heady blueprint. From then on its' a loved-up, saucer-eyed jaunt through laidback Balearic disco grooves ("In The Park"), spaced-out punk-funk ("Way Uptown"), percussion-packed Latin beats ("Batacuda"), bustling breakbeat house ("Berlina"), warped digital dub ("Dancin' Music") and spaced-out broken beat ("Listen"). In a word: superb.