Review: The seventh and final instalment of De:Tuned's brilliant Unboxed Brain series - an unashamed tribute to 1990s IDM and ambient techno featuring contributions from many of the artists who defined that scene - is predictably special. It features a slew of new remixes of previously released tracks, plus "Monolith", a previously unreleased ambient track from the Future Sound of London that's every bit as weird, wonderful and out there as the duo's greatest work. Elsewhere, Kirk Degiorgio (as Future/Past) and Mark Broom both drag B12's "World's End" towards the dancefloor (the latter providing a punchy electro re-make), while The Black Dog provides a brilliantly blissful, string-drenched ambient interpretation of Scanner's "Eros".
Review: Bambooman (real name Kirk Barley) is a London based producer who presents his fourth release on Matthew Herbert's Accidental imprint - which follows up last year's terrific long player, Whispers. His new offering is the trippy minimal techno kicker "Ricochet", with its sparse arrangement revolving around a stuttering bassline and nasty chord stabs awash in plate reverb. On the flip, the man himself Herbert steps up to deliver a wacky and glitched out remix in his own truly idiosyncratic style once again.
Review: At first glance, French enfant terrible Bambounou is a surprising addition to the Diskant impint - now known as just Disk. Known for his techno and house exploits on Clek Clek Boom and 50 Weapons, his knack for intricately programmed rhythms were on display even back then. It kind of figures that he'd be a good choice for the label, come to think of it now. That's certainly proven across the three tracks on the Parametr Perkusja EP, where his sound sits comfortably alongside label mates like Harmonious Thelonious and Durian Brothers. From the slo-mo esoterica of "Dernier Metro" which reaches near tribal moments, the hard hitting polyrhythmic techno of "Kosovo Hardcore" it is great to hear some original productions from him after lengthy absence.
Review: Having shot into the limelight in 2012 with a 12" on Hessle Audio followed up by an outing on Liberation Technologies, Bandshell has since been on covert operations largely centred around releasing his music himself via Bandcamp. Now he's extended that practice into the B.S.Hell label, providing a physical presence to his wayward experimentation on the fringes of bass music. It's a sound that naturally aligns with the likes of Batu and Laksa, but also defiantly makes its own statement as well. With five tracks of distinctive drum science and textural voodoo to indulge in, this is a welcome return to wax for a thrilling, self-motivated producer.
Review: Brothers From Different Mothers stalwart Basses Terres is a producer to whom easy categorization cannot be applied. For example, on his 2016 debut, he rushed between a quartet of experimental techno, leftfield and electronica excursions, while 2017's "Counting Pulsations" cassette was a druggy trip rich in ambient, dub and "dungeon synth" flavours. So what's on offer here? More intoxicating, otherworldly concoctions, that's what. Highlights include the dark tropical ambient of "665 Moths", the dubbed-out post-dancehall weightiness of "Wilfred Doricent", the slipped and spacey electronica of "Deliae" and the fluid dreaminess of gently percussive closing cut "Sentiment Oceanique".
Review: Battista, John Swing and EMG's first hook-up under the SPS moniker - the thrillingly hard-to-pigeonhole Sintomi Di Gravita 12" - was arguably one of 2014's most slept-on records. Here they join forces for round two, delivering another two tracks that neatly sidestep the accepted norms of house and techno. A-side "Movimento (Consico Mix)" is a wonky chunk of well-swung, jazz-flecked deep house, smothered in filters and tipsy chords. Flip for the Inconsico Mix of the same track, a brilliantly far-out fusion of odd electronics, glitchy rhythms, shimmering synths and bubbling found sounds. It's hardly dancefloor-centric, but it's certainly really, really good.
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: Big Hands, big heart, big ideas; Milan man now based in London Andrea Bonalumi blesses us with his biggest release to date on Beat Machine. Fractured, frazzled and fried in future innovation, we're blindsided by the offbeat bubbles on "Prequel" and shunted and stuttered by disco freakery on "More Than Love". Elsewhere the title track boils things down to a much sludgier, warped and weird shuffle, "Tensegrity" reimagines rave for a modern day jilted generation while "Kick Blood" kicks us down a twisted UKG rabbit hole. "Blood" concludes this extensive extended player both in its breakbeat original form and gun-toting instrumental grime take from Walton. Big.
Review: Texas club music icon Lotic continues Bjork's makeover on One Little Indian with another beautiful 12", cropped and packaged in a gorgeous silk-screened bag. Bjork's "Notget" had already been retuned by Lotic, but this time he returns to the turn with his Fromdeath version, jumping from solitary drones to broken shreds of power electronics, tribal drums and gun shots. It's a jagged, wayward affair for the more adventurous disc jockey, and one that will please both the floor shakers and the brain melters - this tune is only a shadow of its original self, and it comes as this week's top of the tips..!
Review: With releases on a who's who list of labels that are pushing experimental, underground house and techno including L.I.E.S, Creme Organisation, Echovolt and Strange Life, William Burnett has been steadily putting out releases that have gained a lot of respect without having to shout too loud about it. So much so that as well as running his own stella WT Records label, William is now often cited as a producer's producer. Deep and full of dub aesthetics that encompasses a world of it's own, his music is not just driven by a need to keep the floor moving, but are also about taking your headspace somewhere else. Progressing things a stage further is the Black Deer project. Recently launched, but in gestation for some time, it's introspective slant, plus loose referencing to his upbringing in Texas, allows William more freedom for experimentation. The Last Tortuga is taken from the same sessions that yielded the Willie Burns The Overlord EP on Trilogy Tapes as well as Black Deer's Trail Of Tears EP on Rush Hour, this 6 track EP has been due on the label for sometime, but it's been worth the wait as his sound has developed and expanded to take in ambient, drone and krautrock and highlights his musicianship in a new light.
Review: New York's Black Dice had to land on their native LIES imprint at some point. It was only a matter of time before label head Ron Morelli picked them up, and he's done so in fine style. The American Tapes, DFA, and Paw Tracks casuals are made up of Eric Copeland, Aaron Warren and Bjorn Copeland, and the trio like to get a little wacky over their coldwave grooves. "Big Deal" is a true post-punk reincarnation, a track that manages to pick out everything that was right about the early 80's by adding in elements of noise, rock, and a little techno. A monumental tune. "Last Laugh" is more dubwise in its approach, where a distorted guitar sways from side to side amid a fuzzy whirlpool of aqueous sonics and dusty percussion. A great release from LIES, and a fresh addition to their more usual house and techno onslaught.
Review: A special release from Minimal Wave here as the uber rare Irene & Mavis EP from UK synth poppers Blancmange is granted a reissue! Those with a pub quiz winning level of knowledge of UK synth pop will no doubt be familiar with the 80s hits of Blancmange duo Neil Arthur & Stephen Luscombe, yet this debut EP dating back to 1980 will still sound revelatory. The self released Irene & Mavis EP marked Arthur and Luscombe to be fully willing to experiment with DIY electronics, impressing Mute founder Daniel Miller sufficiently to proclaim them "maiden aunts of electronic music," and thus more than suited as a subject of focus from the Minimal Wave label. There are definite similarities between this nascent stage of Blancmange and the output of Cabaret Voltaire from the same era, particularly in the masked and disembodied nature of the vocals, whilst "Holiday Camp" and "Just Another Spectre" are wonderful examples of instrumental synth music. Despite originally being released in 7" format, the six newly remastered tracks are presented here in 10" format by Minimal Wave with the distinctive artwork retained!
Review: After kicking things off with the killer "Mariachi Guadalajara" by Lewski, Or:la's Cead label returns with another emergent talent, Blu Terra. The Warsaw based producer comes on strong for this breakthrough release with the heavy slapping, sound design-enhanced electro of "Person Sans". Even if the opening track felt detailed, it's superseded by the barrage of information spilling out of crafty, distinctive acid monster "20,000". "Western/Eastern" spreads across the B-side in a nervous twitch of rave energy geared towards big dark spaces, perfect for that spine-tingling part of the night when the real world feels very far away indeed.
Review: After the ultra-limited white vinyl edition of Brainwaltzera's superb "Epi Log EP" sold out in record time last year, Film has bowed to demand and served up this speedy black vinyl reissue. If you missed out first time around (and many of us did), it's worth picking up. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the mind-altering throb of "Doctor Who"-goes-dub techno pulse of "Triangulate Dither (Fairytall version)" and deep space bliss of "[Take 2]", to the Autechre style IDM breakbeats and chiming melodies of "Count_Dem_Pops". Brainwaltzera even chucks in a track that sounds like Boards of Canada jamming with Dam Funk (the dreamy "Bad Endgar"), which sounds every bit as wonderful as it looks on paper.
Review: This remix package by the mysterious Brainwaltzera (Furthur Electronix/Analogical Force) features cuts from his enviable discography, including reinterpretations of recordings featured on the recently released Poly-Ana LP on Berlin based Film - which received plaudits from underground dance music heavyweights. From the the candy inflected electro of "Muddy Puddle Trot" remixed by legend Luke Vibert, Berlin based synthesist Eva Geist (AKA Andrea Noce) and her brooding, slow-burning gothic noir on the "Kurzweil Dame" remix or Philipp Otterbach's evocative ambient rendition of "Triangulate Dither" awash in reverb drenched textures and metallic FM synthesis.