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This week at Juno

“Only a momma’s boy cares about artwork!!” That might be the opinion of Omar S on the matter, but there was only ever going to be one image at the top of the week’s rundown of releases.

Arriving in a CD digipak featuring the producer in a number of casual situations (surrounded by CDrs on his studio floor is our favourite), Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself is a worthy follow up to Alex Omar Smith’s previous long-player, with the soulful piano house of “Rewind” and dubbed out rawness of “Amalthea” standing out for notable praise. Sitting alongside this as our single of the week was the first release from the surprise new label from Hessle Audio regular Elgato. Arriving with no fanfare, his eponymous label started out by releasing the long-awaited “Dunkel Jam”, which many will remember from Ben UFO’s excellent Rinse:16 from 2011; its jittery toolish sounds were joined by the aquatic minimal house of “We Dream Electric”.

After a few weeks when techno and records seemed to arrive by the busload, it was a refreshing change to see some interesting house records redress the balance this week. Top of the pile, and quickly sold out, was the L.I.E.S. white label debut of Florian Kupfer, who delivered four extraordinary tracks of raw, hardware-made house music in the vein of Hieroglyphic Being and Willie Burns; “Feelin (Dub Micx)” provided our favourite moment for coming across like a stripped back house version of “Laura’s Theme” from Twin Peaks. On a similar tip was Simoncino’s return to Echovolt with Where Did You Go, whose shimmering house business recalls the classic work of Larry Heard and Ten City; not to be content with one release this week Simoncino also showed up on Hot Island with Animal, with a killer Legowelt remix in tow.

Meanwhile Mister Saturday Night returned with Alex Burkat’s Shower Scene, a record whose hypnotic qualities proved a complete departure from previous releases from Anthony Naples and Archie Pelago. Although this category was rounded out by excellent records from Sling & Samo, Timothy J Fairplay and some reissue business from the irrepressible Rick Wade, the most exciting arrival by far was the vinyl version of Maurice Fulton project Syclops’ A Blink Of An Eye – worth it just to have the incredible “Jump Bugs” on wax.

Those looking for a little more low end in their music however should waste no time in checking the latest release from London trio Dark Sky. Marking their first release for Tectonic, “Confunktion” is surprisingly techno-like in its nature, as growling synths pan across a broken 4/4 beat, leaving “Double U” to deliver the dubstep business we’d usually expect from Pinch’s label. Similar hybrid sounds could be found on Appleblim’s return to his Apple Pips label with Komonazmuk alias Komon in tow, with “Gas Jam” providing some snappy slices of vocal over a nagging shuffle with an old-skool rave flavour, and B-side “Silencio” proving a more curious affair, sliding into a Balearic-paced groove rich in arpeggios and easy atmospherics, while the doe-eyed, ravey nostaligia of Samoyed’s Vase-released Sloe Eyes finally landed on vinyl.

By far the biggest release in the category however was footwork figurehead DJ Rashad’s first appearance on Hyperdub. Keeping his style true to his roots with rapid fire samples, manic drum patterns and an otherworldly atmosphere, the title track of his Rollin’ EP provides a bittersweet jam that emotionally pivots on a heartbreak R&B centrepoint, while “Let It Go” puts paid to such melancholia with a nod to jungle that finds snappy slices of breakbeat hammering out in a vibe reminiscent of the early days of rave.

Techno historians are well advised to check out the Rush Hour reissue of N.A.D’s 1990 album Dawn Of A New Age, a lost classic from English producer Mustafa Ali, combining the sci-fi futurism of Juan Atkins and the deep house qualities of recent Rush Hour reissue subjects The Burrell Brothers and Elbee Bad. On a more contemporary and notably darker tip was Tiamat, the big 2×12″ from Cassegrain, a release that saw the pair explore the Babylonian mythology of an ocean dwelling, chaos monster across six tracks with the resultant dubby, diluted sound design a cultivated step forward from Cassegrain’s previous works. It sits comfortably alongside the latest release from the Geophone camp, with Donato Dozzy and Neel’s revered Voices From The Lake collaboration supplying their first release outside of Prologue with some throbbing brain pulses in “Reptilicus”, Mike Parker receiving the remix treatment from Shifted, and Ukrainian artist Stanislav Tolkachev providing the melancholic “Heartbeat”. Those looking for something a little more straight up should check Mike Dehnert’s mind-bending return to Echocord, and Low Jack & Qoso’s thumping Brandy for In Paradisum.

Planet Mu and Strange Life producer Polysick headed up a healthy clutch of experimental releases this week, with Daydream on the Audiomer label providing a combination of alienating acid jack tracks, radiophonic gurgles and heady analogue trance – a record complemented perfectly by Trunk’s reissue of electronic music pioneer Daphne Oram’s Electronic Sound Patterns. Meanwhile Heterotic, the husband and wife team-up of Planet Mu boss Mike Paradinas and Lara Rix-Martin released Love & Devotion, their debut album of 90s-indebted electronica; in complete contrast to that was Material, the latest terrifying, explorations in tension and noise from Bristol duo Emptyset.