This week at Juno

You might have gathered from the monthly artwork feature or the sporadic angled shots that appear in the occasional review that we’re strong advocates of a nicely presented record here at Juno Plus. This week there seemed to be an overabundance of such releases.

For example Swamp 81 graced us with a highly limited second volume of Mean Streets, FaltyDL’s ongoing homage to New York City which came adorned in a sleeve sporting a perfectly shot photo of a snow covered Brooklyn back street. Musically, the three tracks were every bit the match of FaltyDL’s previous effort for Loefah’s vinyl only label, demonstrating a tempo shifting mastery of rhythms we’ve come to expect from Mr Lustman.

Occupying the pain staking, individual end of the art work spectrum was Daojia’s Riego Street, the latest release from Awkward Movements which arrived with individually hand sprayed and stamped artwork, a process previously described to us by label boss Keith Pettinger as involving “lots of cans of spraypaint, many hours inhaling fumes, four broken stencils and a few location changes due to bad weather.” Those seeking some true insight into the music within should direct their attention to our recently published review.

We’ve mentioned elsewhere the mind bending qualities of Transverse, the rather good collaboration between Nik Void of Factory Floor and Throbbing Gristle duo Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti and the hypnotic test screen qualities of the artwork really come to the fore on the vinyl edition. No less impressive was the desolate print work that covers KM/MM, the long awaited mini LP from Kassem Mosse and Mix Mup, which is par for the course on a label like The Trilogy Tapes, and the music within is truly special.

Then there are the labels whose impressive artistic touches take on more subtle approaches, such as the latest Workshop 12″ – a long overdue debut from the Move D and Juju & Jordash project Magic Mountain High – which naturally came with the handstamped label logo, but also included a photo printed insert. Naturally the three untitled tracks that form The Schnitzel Box Vol 1 are superb, not least the expansive A Side hugger that has the space to incorporate both brooding analogue drone and sprawling, glistening key laden melodics.

There was of course plenty of records out this week that focused solely on the music adopting a no frills approach to how it was presented. Chief amongst them was the latest 12″ from the tireless Omar S, with 998 maintaining a monthly release schedule for FXHE without any discernible dip in quality. The rowdy low rent box jam “The White Castle Song” in particular is perhaps the producer’s most potent ode to the perfect warehouse moment since the all conquering “Here’s Your Trance…”

Special mention to Endless Flight for their continued efforts to put out simple yet devastatingly effective and enduring house music from an international cast of producers, with Viennese producer Roman Rauch delivering a devilsh double dollop of goodness that ranks up there with Mark Seven and Combo in our favourite 12″s on the label – “All I Need” in particular deserves to soundtrack many a hot summer night.

This week’s batch of Dutch delights saw Legowelt and Xosar conjure up some South Californian surf dude aliases for Creme Organization on the great four track Trackman Lafonte & Bonquiqui 12″, whilst M>O>S Recordings invited us to hear what the studio aftermath of a night on the tiles in Amsterdam with label boss Aroy Dee and 2012 hero in waiting San Proper sounded like with the fragrant deepness of Perfume. There was also the splendidly titled Modern Slaves Of Contemporary Contexts, a second EP of stuttering claustrophobic house music from the mysterious Yør on the equally mysterious Purple Maze to contend with.

Over at Juno Download, Unknown To The Unknown chief DJ Haus returned to the production fold with certified party heater “Needin U'”, which arrived backed with a killer refix from shape-shifting UK producer Capracara. Over at Hyperdub, Philly producer King Britt surfaced after a long absence with a new project that left beyond his traditionally lush and funky nu-jazz and broken beat releases for a darker and chillier place.

In the techno realm, Ideas From The Pond showed that veteran Croatian producer Petar Dundov is not treading water but has in fact grown older, wiser and more creative. Canadian duo and former Juno Plus interviewees Orphx provided their fourth EP for Adam X’s Sonic Groove imprint, and Hunger Knows No Law continued to blur the lines between their industrial heritage and a warped vision of club techno, while Barker & Baumecker’s booming kicks, nerdy percussion and ravey synth wobbles distanced Ostgut Ton from the concrete and Berghain-centric sound synonymous with the label; the dank and techy basement beats of “Part 2” in particular were something one would expect from Untold or Hessle Audio. Further must-check digital releases came from Carter Tutti Void (on Mute), Airhead on R&S, 2562 (on his own When In Doubt), Mr Beatnick (on Don’t Be Afraid) and that superb exercise in stripped back techno from Alex Coulton on Idle Hands.

CD-wise, it was all about Clark’s latest album for Warp Records; Iradelphic offered a mix of glistening electronica, droning synths and folksy, acoustic elements. It’s a fusion that by and large works wonderfully, offering a slightly psychedelic, upbeat mixture of tracks. There are moments of electronic oddness interspersed with fuzzy guitars – see “Tooth Moves” – but these are largely outweighed by sweet, swinging pieces that harness the sunshine-bright glow of rural Britain in Spring.