This week at Juno
Impressionistic techno on The Trilogy Tapes and psychedelic deep house from the Mood Hut label headed up the week’s best releases.
Will Bankhead’s Trilogy Tapes label has been responsible for some fairly extraordinary records in its time, but its latest, from the anonymous Levantis, may be its best yet. Although its easy to think of TTT as a label that operates at the more experimental fringes of the dancefloor, the Believe EP sounds at times like the distant throb of the club heard through AM radio static, with the kind of heady chug so reminiscent of Andy Stott’s Passed Me By or the rough edged material from Actress’ Splazsh album. In other words, essential. Vying with Levantis for single of the week was the latest name from Vancouver’s Mood Hut label to receive their own record, with Ttam Renat providing On The Inner Plains, possibly the imprint’s best record yet. Like the rest of the artist’s Mood Hut peers, Ttam Renat’s sound is distinctly rooted in the classic Chicago deep house tradition, but with a distinctly psychedelic edge present in the tumbling bass and shifting pad backdrop.
On the album front, the anonymous A Saggitariun stepped up with his debut album Dream Ritual, a pleasingly old-fashioned concoction of classic Detroit techno, mid-’90s electronica and early U.S. deep house. As Oli Warwick said in his review, “all the optimistic future-gazing you might have felt from classic Future Sound Of London or The Orb is here in abundance, and it’s realised perfectly.” On Irish imprint All City meanwhile, NTS Radio resident Mamiko Motto was responsible for curating what might be one the more interesting compilations of the year in Amada, which pulls together an international cast of established and emerging beat talent, with the likes of James Pants, Obey City, Darq E Freeker and Dorian Concept among the diverse names profiled.
Meanwhile Idle Hands returned with their first double EP, which provided the welcome return of Bristol’s Andy Mac. Last seen on a vital Punch Drunk 12″ a few years ago, Regular & Irregular is a masterclass in the kind of soundsystem-inspired house music coming out of the city right now, with the rolling almost junglist rhythms and starry melodies of “Nowhere!” in particular showing his craft off to fine effect. FunkinEven also made his long-awaited return to Eglo with the Egypt split single, sharing two sides of a 12″ with the like-minded Gifted & Blessed, with both tracks offering some typically funk-infused house. Those looking for more such sounds should check the new collection of Dauwd remixes on Pictures Music, with the UK producer finding the finely crafted house of his Heat Division EP remixed by Tim Goldsworthy and Nick Hoppner. Those who still have fond memories of the former’s Loving Hand remixes will not be disappointed with his epic nine-minute recomposition of the title track.
In the world of skewed techno, Rubadub’s white label series quietly slipped out the Sailor EP. Although the identity of those responsible has been kept a secret, it won’t take eagle-eared fans of eccentric hardware techno long to work out the identities from the sounds on the 12″ (and the catalogue number as well). The prolific Tadd Mullinix returned under his JTC moniker also this week, making his return to Spectral Sound with Valley Road (We Are 1), whose gloriously soulful feel is complimented by a trippier remix from Strength Music boss DJ Qu. Underground US figure Container provided a remix of Four Tet’s “Kool FM”, turning the original into a heaving mass of scuzz and kick drums – quite the contrast to Butterz artist Champion’s UKF version on the flip filled with in-built rewinds. Finally, Shit & Shine – the subject of an excellent Diagonal release last month – made a swift return on Gangsigns with one of the titles (and covers) of the year in Find Out What Happens When People Start Being Polite For A Fucking Change. Those exposed to his weird combination of sample-based dance music and DIY textures will know what to expect, with the proto EBM of “Darth Vador Flavor” a highlight.
More straight up techno was in good supply this week, headed up with with Cosmin TRG making an initially unexpected appearance on Gerd Janson’s Running Back. Slotting nicely alongside releases on the label from Redshape and Disco Nihilist, the gritty yet melodic nature of the tracks on the Panoramic EP make Cosmin Nicolae’s appearance on the label one that makes total sense. Similarly enthralling was the latest release on the Indigo Aera label, which saw some unreleased material from the vaults of Kirk Degiorgio, originally produced between 1991 and 1992. Rescued from a dusty DAT tape, the material is expectedly rough around the edges, by no less full of the kind of wide-eyed Detroit style futurism that made his productions so peerless during that era. There was also another helping of “S&M techno” on Avian, as the anonymous A Vision Of Love project returned with part 2 of Lessons In Hate, providing two more ferociously grizzled techno productions. Finally, Dadub followed up their fine debut LP for Stroboscopic Artefacts with the Untitled EP, with the 12-minute “Mistresses March” a memorable foray through scraping textures and plummeting grooves.
Finally, fans of Cabaret Voltaire should consider investigating the expansive #8385 Collected Works 1983-1985 boxset, which sees a wealth of material from one of the more overlooked period of the Cabs’ career, personally overseen by Richard H Kirk himself.