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This week at Juno

Records from Barnt, MRSK, Mr Mitch, Blackest Ever Black’s new techno sub-label and more were among the best this week.

Torn Hawk – Let’s Cry And Do Pushups At The Same Time (Mexican Summer)

lets-cry-TH-200We’ve been big fans of Torn Hawk’s self-styled “video mulch” since he appeared on a L.I.E.S. white label back in 2012, and the persona which has emerged since has only endeared him to us more – check the list of his five top Dire Straits songs on XLR8R for proof. Similarly, we’ve always been uncertain whether his track titles are delivered with straight faced sincerity or a knowing wink, and his debut album, Let’s Cry And Do Push-Ups At The Same Time, is no different. If you’re familiar with his style of audio collage, blending ‘80s guitar lines and fragmented synths to kaleidoscopic effect, you’ll be right at home; if not, this album is the perfect starting point.
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Barnt – His Name (Hinge Finger)

barnt-hfTo say releases from Joy Orbison and Will Bankhead’s Hinge Finger label are irregular would be an understatement – this record is only the fifth to be released by the pair since it was inaugurated with Madteo’s Bugler Gold EP back in 2012. Cologne producer Barnt, responsible for a clutch of releases on Comeme, Mule Musiq and his own Magazine label may not be the most obvious choice for a Hinge Finger release, but His Name is easily as good as the rest – both “Chappell” and “Under His Own Name But Also As Sir” sound like the sort of angular EBM you might expect to hear blasted out at World Unknown, with a healthy dose of dystopian synth straight out the John Carpenter handbook.
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Vladislav Delay – Visa (Ripatti)

visa-200It seems fair to say we’ve been spoiled for outstanding ambient albums this year – Alesssandro Cortini’s Sonno, Bing & Ruth’s Tomorrow Was The Golden Age and Neel’s forthcoming Phobos are just three, and Vladislav Delay’s Visa is another to add to the list. Created in just two weeks after the artist was denied a US visa for a tour, it represents his first ambient album in 10 years, though to describe it simply as ambient would be to gloss over its depth. Seemingly constructed from layers of mircotonal loops and textures, listening to Visa is like finding yourself stuck in a sonic glue, impossible to prise yourself free.
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Mr Mitch – Don’t Leave EP (Planet Mu)

dont-leave-200London-based grime producer Mr Mitch has been quietly honing his take on grime for the past five years or so, primarily releasing his own music on his Gobstopper Records label and being a key part of London grime night Boxed. Next month sees the release of his debut album on Planet Mu, and the Don’t Leave EP offers an exciting taste of what to expect. The title track offers something of a heartbreak grime anthem filled with knackered melodies, something repeated to devastating effect on “Padded” and “Oh”, whose strangely downtrodden hoover synths sound like ghosts of raves gone by.
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MRSK – Absomnia (Skudge Records)

absomnia-200Swedish techno don Martin Skogehall has had quite the busy year; as well as dropping some loopy house jams for Crime City Disco, temaing up with Daniel Andreasson for a record on Tabernacle and start the naugurate the S.E.L.F. label alongside Thomas Jadelmark, he’s also found the time to make this mini LP for Skudge. Entitled Absomia, the six tracks perfectly encapsulate the diverse and rowdy nature of his acid-soaked techno jams; six reasons why Sweden might be the unlikely techno capital of Europe right now.
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Murlo – Into Mist EP (Rinse)

into-mist-200Another shining light of the innovative UK grime scene, Murlo here follows up strong releases for Unknown To The Unknown and Glacial Sound with a four-track EP for Rinse’s own label. All the boisterous nature of last year’s material is present and correct, but there’s an uncanny depth of field through each track putting his music close to the weightless excursions of Mumdance and Logos. All the tracks here are killer, but for sheer ambition “Roman Baths” is the stand out, a veritable grime symphony filled with haunting lounge piano and calypso percussion giving Mr Mitch’s “Don’t Leave” a run for its money for best grime track of the week.
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Ena – Binaural (Samurai Horo)

binaural-200Not only has it been a big year for Japanese artist Ena, but a watershed 12 months for Geoff Presha’s Samurai Horo, the anything goes offshoot of his more bespoke drum and bass platform Samurai Music. So far this year Horo has released five 12”s, two of which came from Ena (another obscure edition came through AnD) with Ena’s Binaural LP being the sub-label’s debut full length. Checking in at 14 tracks long, it’s a great showcase of the producer’s blackened beat design, and comes highly recommended to those feeling the work of Fis or Felix K of late.
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December – In Advance Of The Broken Arm (A14)

a14-01-200Murmurings of a techno-focused sub-label of Blackest Ever Black have been circulating since label boss Kiran Sande made it known via the tracklistings of his BCR shows, and this is the first record to make its way into the world. Dealing in everything from “serpentine breakbeat reductions to straight-up terminator trax,” this first release from Parisian producer December gives a good idea of what to expect – both “In Advance of The Broken Arm” and “Collapse” come bearing some monochrome techno swagger, with the wave-influenced sounds of the title track hitting the sweet spot between light and dark.
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Odd Rumblings – Thieves (Public Information)

thieves-200Public Information hasn’t missed the mark yet, and this debut from Brooklyn duo Odd Rumblings is no exception. Those who follow the label closely will remember Katie Gately’s striking debut from last year, and Odd Rumblings tap into a pop sensibility in much the same surreal manner, creating a record somewhere between ritual music and glassy, opaque synth-pop. As the description (and the duo’s name) might imply, Thieves is a record shot through with sinister undertones and strange frequencies. In short, another essential record from Public Information.
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The High-on-Wye Quintet – The Hafod Jams Pt 1 (Freerotation)

hafod-jams-200If you’ve yet to attend the Freerotation festival, or you just want some way of tiding yourself over until next year’s edition, the organisers have now started a record label of the same name. The debut release comes from the brilliantly named High-On-Wye Quintet, the collaborative effort of core Freerotation regulars Steevio, Soulphiction, Juju & Jordash and Move D. As you might expect from such a diverse collection of artists, The Hafod Jams Pt. 1 soaks up a number of influences, including ambient, techno, house, and spits them back out into the kind of thing you might hear floating out of a yurt in the early afternoon sunshine.
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