Review: Since first pitching up on Erased Tapes back in 2013, singer-songwriter Douglas Dare has delivered a handful of sublime releases that blur the boundaries between neo-classical, folk, contemplative electronica and alternative rock. "Milkteeth", his third album and first for almost four years, is undeniably his most sparse and stripped-back, with many of the thoughtful, heart-aching songs utilizing only a pared-down range of instruments (piano, acoustic guitar, sampled loops and solo brass and woodwind parts being the most notable). The results are genuinely spellbinding, with Dare's layered voice and contemplative lyrics taking centre stage throughout.
Review: Following DJ Richard's crucial LP Dial round out another fine year with a debut album from self-styled "open collective" Dawn Mok, whose debut came with a fine contribution to the 15th anniversary compilation. Featuring creative input from an international cast of musicians encompassing the US, Asian, and European heritage, Dawn Mok are a curious addition to the Dial cause. Spearheaded by collective founder Felix Mura and vocalist Bundi, Eternal Love shares more with r&b than house or techno, but the best part is that we hadn't heard this type of music ever come out of this label. There are plenty of more abstract moments too, of course, and the tracks that are more on the pop side of things are still drenched in a thick layer or ambient gloom. It's minimal r&b, Dial style.
Review: Michigan by way of Texas producer Matthew Dear has had an illustrious career, spanning nearly 20 years producing techno and minimal under such alises as Audion and Jabberjaw. But it's under his birth name that he has created his most thoughtful and innovative work that has resulted in several studio albums - this being his sixth. Bunny is said to have been inspired by an objective view of his career thus far, as well as becoming a father, being inspired by his collaborations and just knowing what works musically - coming from experience. Bunny certainly has its moments: from the low slung Bowie-esque pop of "Calling", the smooth neon-lit noir of "Modafinil Blues" or his collaborations with Canadian duo Tegan & Sara - particularly the irresistible lead single "Bad Ones".
Review: Smalltown Supersound has described Deathprod's "Occulting Disk", the veteran producer's first solo album since 2004, as an "anti-fascist ritual". It was recorded in Oslo, Reykjavik, Cologne, Berlin and Los Angeles between 2012 and 2019 and offers up a distinctly dystopian suite of interconnected pieces that tend towards the dark, intense and evocative. You'll hear plenty of disconcerting drones, razor-sharp aural textures, slowly shifting electronic motifs and the kind of processed noise that simultaneously seems to buzz, throb and pulse aggressively. It feels like the soundtrack to a post-apocalyptic movie scene - legendary 1980s BBC TV movie "Threads", perhaps - with occasionally glimpses of poignant beauty. Not for those seeking fluffy fun, but stunning nevertheless.
Review: You can never second guess a new release from DJ Sotofett, which is precisely why he and his Sex Tags conglomerate remain such a joy to follow. When he's not tussling with house conventions solo and in partnership with other maverick club vagabonds, he's sometimes indulging his experimental side more explicitly via Sex Tags Amfibia. So it goes here on this wonderful double 7" album of plunge pool atmospheres that veer from vividly sculpted dub biomes to dislocated tonal exercises shot through with a little of that Sex Tags tongue-in-cheek behaviour. There are some truly stunning sound worlds he's crafted, condensed and cut to these modest discs, possibly presented with experimental DJs in mind but highly worthy of attentive headphone sojourns too.