Review: Cong Burn made a mighty splash with its first release, clearly flaunting the kind of wares you'd expect to hear from Livity Sound alumni or other such esteemed techno renegades. The second installment is no slouch either, featuring a new cast of crooked creators offering up their wares for the modern mutant dancefloor. BFTT has a weighty low end thrum powering "Public/Private", while Lack takes things in a scuffed and nimble direction. Chekov pushes out into more experimental pastures with the broken beats and displaced sound design of "Celeste" and Howes creates a wonderful strain of mystical deep house for darkened souls. Each one of these tracks is loaded with flair and personality, yards ahead of your average generic knock offs and presenting something with real merit to the convoluted world of dance music.
Review: The Isla stable heads far out every time, but they're getting especially adventurous on this new missive from La Fe - a duo made up of Michael Red and Daniel Rincon (also known as Sounds and Ambien Baby respectively). There's a dense, ethnological tone to the percussion sources, with humid atmospherics sticking close to the drums throughout. Quite where the music is headed is unclear - somewhere out on the plains of the Fourth World no doubt - and the ambiguity is part of the charm.
Similar Familiar (Ruede Hagelstein & Amin Fallaha remix) (7:02)
Warsaw Street (Scuba remix) (8:21)
Loose Life (Julien Bracht remix) (5:53)
Remember (Thom Alt-J remix)) (3:31)
Review: There's been a fair amount of excitable online chatter about moody synthesizer fetishists Lea Porcelain, a duo from Frankfurt whose work sits somewhere between vintage minimal wave and clanking, modular electronica. Here, the pair has allowed a quartet of remixes to make merry with some of their most name-checked tunes. The headline attraction is arguably Scuba's alternately hypnotic, melodious and trippy broken techno take on "Warsaw Street", though Julien Bracht's doom-laden, lo-fi breakbeat interpretation of 2015 track "Loose Life" is arguably even stronger. Those looking for the ultimate in beat-less, wall-of-sound moodiness should check out Thom Alt J's inspired remix of "Remember".
Review: Damn! Dark Entries are on a roll! Their latest reissue is of Scotland's Thomas Leer, an early 80's independent artist who recorded "Private Plane" in his bedroom using an extremely limited set-up...the prototypical '80s experimental kid! The tune is dreary, funky and on the abstract side all at the same time, but our favourite is actually "International" thanks to its wonky groove, driving percussion stabs and bursts of distorted jazz flute. On the B-side there's also "Saving Grace", a more poppy affair in that inimitable 80's Karate Kid flair...highly recommended, a 12" worthy of a reissue.
Review: After the first split release from Lenta and Ahu last year, Shahr Farang is back with another intriguing, enveloping take on minimalistic electronics for the true meditators out there. With not a dancefloor concern in sight the listener is transported into evocative soundscapes populated by broad strokes of pad and detailed found sounds, while the most delicate pulses of rhythm fall in patient measures that would make Jan Jelinek feel somewhat hyperactive. "Love Is Silence" is the most steady 4/4 track on the release, while "Divine Light" spins off into anchorless swirls of hum and shrieks from no definable source. "Bare Shoulder" flexes on a reduced beat tip, while "You Still Come To Me In My Dreams" worms some wistful samples into the intricate and dusty surroundings to great effect.
Review: Second Circle's latest mini-album comes from the previously unheard Giuseppe Leonardi, a "young Viennese musician" whose heady, synthesizer-heavy style is reminiscent of some of the curious obscurities reissued on parent label Music From Memory. While experimental in nature - think skewed combinations of lo-fi analogue keyboards, sparse and dusty drum machine hits and all manner of manipulated voices - each of the five tracks is pleasingly melodious. Combined with a range of left-of-centre influences from the early-to-mid '80s (think new wave ambient, new wave and British post-punk dub), it makes for a heady and arresting collection of tracks that actually gets better with each successive listen.
Review: 2MR is a curious label, indeed. For starters, its founders Mike Simonetti and Mike Sniper have released just about all sorts of electronic music on it. The second release by Russian artist Kedr Livanskiy is just as nutty as her debut, except that this time we have even more sound experiments to play with. Mixing up lo-fi techno through the likes of "Razrushitelniy Krug" or "Winds Of May", together with grainy shades of house on "January Sun", and even broken-down echoes of post-hardcore with "Otvechai Za Slova" the artist has managed to create a truly captivating record, and perhaps also one of the freshest and most daring pieces of music that we've heard since the turn of the new year. Warmly recommended.
Review: 12th Isle's latest must-check chunk of entertaining experimentalism comes from Lo Kindre, whose dub-wise 2017 debut on Optimo Music was arguably one of that year's most overlooked EPs. "Chlorophytum", the producer's first solo missive since then, is another lo-fi electronic dub treat. Of course, it's not all gentle bass-heavy rhythms, endless delay trails and cute electronic melodies - closing cut "For Sleep" is a buzzing electronic raga, for example - but it's on these bass-heavy excursions that Lo Kindre most frequently hits the spot. Highlights include the extraordinarily sub-heavy shuffle of "Sounder", the ambient dub wooziness of "Aibell" and the creepy alien-dub oddness of "No Hiding".
Review: Musical (and real life) couple Local Suicide has been in fine form of late, delivering a series of solid collaborations with the likes of Curses, Franz Matthews and Theus Mago. Here they go solo once more via a first outing on Lumiere Noire. Title track "Leopard Gum" is dark, woozy and feverish, with the pair wrapping curiously off-kilter vocals, intoxicating electronics and ghostly chords around a slow, sparse, bass-heavy groove. It's given a throbbing, darkwave inspired makeover by regular studio buddies Smagghe & Cross, before Local Suicide serves up the clandestine and atmospheric new wave chug of "Already There". In typical fashion, synthesizer fetishist Phillip Lauer offers up an Italo-disco influenced interpretation that turns the track into a cheery chunk of Balearic disco goodness.
Review: The latest EP on Sleep D's on-point Butter Sessions imprint comes from another unsung hero of Australia's electronic underground, Low Flung AKA Moortown Records chief Danny Wild. Dreamy, tactile and analogue-rich, we can confirm that "Dribble" is really rather good. Check, for example, the huggable, head-in-the-clouds deep house warmth of "Deep Dribble", and the fluid ambient brilliance of "Shallow Sleep", where hazy field recordings are smothered in slowly shifting electronics. The warm and woozy vibes continue on the flipside, where the gently jaunty dub house/deep house fusion of "Exotic Dirt (Blend 43 Dub)" is followed by the dub-wise IDM trip that is "Air Dry".
Review: De:tuned are in the midst of a 10 part anniversary series, and this latest missive - the seventh in all - brings together a hefty selection of talents old and new on heavyweight vinyl. Jonah Sharp opens things as Spacetime Continuum and continues to fuse ambient, techno, and IDM on the absorbing cosmic adventure that is "Only One Sky." Scanner's "Mothlit" slows things down with a hip hop instrumental from outer space, and then the beats disappear altogether on Ross 154's suspensory ambient cut "Earth To Our Friends." Lastly, Leo Anibaldi's "Crion" will make your skin tingle with its deft and delicate melodies which float about like fireflies and leave gorgeous, glowing trails in their wake.
Review: Over the last four decades, we've come accustomed to veteran electronic experimentalist Uwe Schmidt surprising us with each successive album. Even so, we were still pleasantly surprised by his latest Atom TM release, whose title - Walzeryklus ("Waltz Cycle") - offers a hint to his latest inspiration. Recorded with angel-voiced singer Lisokot, the album is entirely made up of tracks recorded in the 3/4 time signature of classic waltz. Naturally, these waltzes are unlike anything you'll have heard before, variously taking in neo-classical inspired ambient, eccentric left-of-centre synth-pop, bubbly electronica, fizzing Rephlex style "Braindance" and even a gtouch of wonky, mind-altering techno.
Review: The Geins't Nait trio continue to wreak havoc on our charts and disorder in our minds, coming through with a new LP for the excellent Offen Music, home to the likes of Rex Ilusivii, Toresch and Ivan Smagghe's collaboration with Rupert Cross. Make Dogs Sing is an album of euphoria and mystique, offering 13 tracks of ethereal beauty, ranging from the very moody to the unscrupulously wide-eyed. There is a gentle movement amid the drones, however, with scrappy analogue beats weaving their way into a cauldron of cavernous dread, such as "Ciseaux Daddy", a fine piece of electronic tweaking that flows beautifully into the likes of "China" and "Discord", all equally mesmerizing pools of beats and sonic performed with nothing but heart and soul. This is a stand-out for us, and it will surely be an album that stands the test of time. TIP!