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This Week At Juno

So you might have noticed a slight change (for the better) in how the Juno Plus homepage looks, and it’s just the latest in a number of ongoing improvements to the site of both an aesthetic and editorial nature that will be rolled out as the weeks progress.

With the Juno Plus IT monkeys taking care of that business, the editorial branch was free to sit back, glance enviously at the sunshine North London was enjoying outside the office and look into how much portable turntables cost concentrate on yet another raft of excellent releases across all formats. In such fine weather it was serendipitous that the appropriately titled Sun Goddess EP from Mr Beatnick should arrive and indelibly affix itself to the office turntable. Perhaps the best release on the seemingly Asparagus fancying Don’t Be Afraid label, the four tracks demonstrate the erstwhile Beatnick’s growing prowess for producing house music rich in detail.

Over the past few months we’ve come to the realisation that Dan Snaith’s vaguely science teacher-resembling appearance must be more than a fashion statement and he’s actually discovered a formula that allows him to discard with the need for sleep. Further evidence was provided this week as Snaith donned his Daphni moniker to drop two Delia & Gavin style trance inducing takes on Emeralds synth jam “Does It Look Like I’m Here?” on his own Jiaolong label which promptly sold out, and he also graced the excellent Sofrito label with an edit of a killer slice of Malian disco from Niama Makalou.

Dekmantel ushered the penultimate edition of their Anniversary Series our way, with Skudge and San Proper living up to their reputations for excellence on two productions that made for quite possibly the best in the series so far. The Swedish duo delivered one of their signature grainy deviations into the pressurised space between house and techno whilst Dekmantel’s biggest fan San Proper’s “Rattle (Station 2 Station)” sounded like, well San Proper! Remaining on a Dutch tip, it was a relatively quiet week for wax from the Lowlands, though M>O>S Recordings boss Aroy Dee did grace the Dolly imprint with a EP in the shape of the caked in tape dust Lost Digits which also sported a rather fine remix from Marcel Fengler.

In the realm of music of music that’s getting increasingly referred to as Bass, there was plenty on offer with Boddika’s latest Swamp 81 missive Acid Jackson further testament to the producer’s skill for crafting wiry 303 jams indebted to 80s electro and booming basement drum tracks. 50 Weapons, meanwhile unleashed Transistor Rhythm the debut album from Addison Groove which showcased the producer’s love for Roland hardware right down to basing the artwork around the look of a vintage TR 808, with the music further exploring the crisp finely sculpted rhythms Mr Groove has previously visited on Swamp 81 and 3024. He also featured on the latest Tectonic Plates compilation alongside an enviable cast of talent that includes 2562, Goth Trad and Kevin McPhee.

Over at Juno Download, left_blank followed impressive releases from the likes of Vessel and El Kid with Myown’s Vesna a beast of hybrid rhythms, found sounds and anti-conventions. The whole EP comes on like a troubled tapestry of madcap ideas, moving from one section to the next with a foggy kind of grace. Left_blank graduate Lorca meanwhile stepped out on the impossible to predict Dummy label with a two tracker of supreme proportions. “Can’t See Higher” has seen plenty of favourable comparisons to “Hyph Mngo”-era Joy Orbison thanks to that fractured female wail and soft focused breakdown, though the most impressive aspect for us is the almost too loose percussion that’s reminiscent of Kieran Hebden in one of his Fabric friendly moments.

Elsewhere, the latest missive by UK producer Emptyset made nods to narratives from the past, taking influence from the tortured industrial noise of Throbbing Gristle, the eerie ambience of Regis and minimal techno at its most reductionist. Juno Plus scribe Richard Brophy stated in his review that Medium “wallows in menacing bass licks with background noise seething beneath the surface … this is music that matches the unparalleled dark age we are living through”. Needless to say it is worthy of further investigation. Once you’ve wrapped your cranium around that, check Derek Gedalecia’s Head Boggle album, which is exhaustive in its attempts to create bizarre musical compositions (even by Spectrum Spools’ esoteric standards).

Rinse’s breakfast show champion Scratcha DVA made good on his blossoming relationship with Hyperdub and delivered an exotic and flavoursome debut LP. The sheer richness of sounds on offer on Pretty Ugly, mixed with the oddball synths, noises, squiggles and jiggles, combine with the vocals for an utterly fresh album. Meanwhile, T Williams returned to Enchufada and continued a frankly unstoppable run of form with the Can We EP.

On the CD front, Photek entered the DJ-Kicks canon with a mix that was positively dripping in his famous melodies and cinematic atmospherics. It thrillingly moves through a variety of sounds, styles and tempos, from slow 4/4 fare, Detroit techno-influenced analogue groovery, next-level IDM, wonky oddness, shiny tech-house, future garage and post-dubstep goodness. Oh, and zero D&B. Even more impressively, the throbbing, twitching, visceral four-track album from Chris Carter, Cosey Fanni Tutti and Nik Void (better known in this instance as Carter Tutti Void) arrived. Recorded live at the trio’s performance at last year’s Mute-curated event at the Roundhouse in London, the album is split into four parts – each hovering around the ten-minute mark. Complete with muffled crowd noise and a hissing, straight-to-tape analogue feel, it almost sounds like a long lost recording from 1984.