This week at Juno

Imaginary soundtracks, cosmic disco and apocalyptic Jakbeat could be found among the week’s best records.

John Carpenter – Lost Themes (Sacred Bones)

lost-themes-200John Carpenter has created some of the most iconic movie scores of all time – Halloween, Assault On Precinct 13 and Escape From New York to name just a few. His synth-based compositions have also had an untold influence on the development of modern electronic music, but despite this, he’s never released a solo album proper until now. The title of Lost Themes is a little misleading – “Imaginary Themes” might be more accurate – but it’s filled with exactly the kind of tense, brooding synthscapes you’d expect from Carpenter, and most importantly, they’re all fantastic.
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Braiden – Apex Of The Sun’s Way (Off Out)

off-out-001-200Braiden might not be the most prolific producer, with only a 12” on Joy Orbison’s short-lived Doldrums label and a record on Rush Hour to his name in the past five years, but when he does release something it’s always worth taking notice of. Here he kicks off his own label, Off Out, with a two-track 12” nestling in the crevice between house and techno. Both “Apex Of The Sun’s Way” and “Solar Poise” tread the line between introspective and soaring melodies, contrasted by the angular machine rhythms that give him his signature poise. If Off Out spurs Braiden on to make more music like this we’ll be very happy indeed.
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Vril – Portal (Delsin)

Last year Vril released the excellent Torus album on Giegling’s Forum imprint. It was one of our favourite techno long players of 2014, making this follow up on Delsin eagerly anticipated to say the least. Though Portal isn’t quite as stylistically varied as Torus, fans of Vril’s tightly spun, sleek brand of techno will not be disappointed by its eight movements. Imbued with a crunchy, digital flavour throughout, Vril’s cybernetic take on the genre is a welcome change from the more industrial variants becoming ever more prevalent.
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Flako – Kuku (Five Easy Pieces)

kuku-200Over the past few years Chilean-born Flako has delivered some sublime music across labels like Project:Mooncircle and Five Easy Pieces, and contributed to Fatima’s Yellow Memories album on Eglo. Soon he will release his debut album proper Natureboy, which will signify something of a new direction for the previously hip hop-influenced producer. Kuku is the first taste of that, and it’s quite unlike anything he or anyone else is doing in his circle – his music is now inspired more by Vangelis and Peruvian music than anything made with an MPC, and the richness of these tracks shows it. If Natureboy is as good as these tracks suggest we could be in for a great album.
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Vakula – A Voyage To Arcturus (Leleka)

arcturus-200New material from Ukranian house mystic Vakula is always a cause for excitement, especially so when the material in question comes in the form of a 3LP album. A Voyage To Arcturus, issued through his own Leleka label is his most ambitious undertaking yet, an imaginary soundtrack to the 1920 sci-fi novel of the same name written by Scottish author David Lindsay. Those expecting deep house might be disappointed – it has more in common with Bernard Szajner’s imaginary soundtrack to Dune put out in 1978 – but there’s no denying this shows just how far Vakula’s talents reach.
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DJ Sprinkles/Mark Fell – Fresh Insights EP 1 (Comatonse)

fresh-insightsBack in 2012, DJ Sprinkles and Mark Fell teamed up for an unexpected and brilliant record of deep house tracks, one of which sampled a speech from trade unionist Arthur Scargill. The two producers have joined forces for another equally essential record here, with the political dimension coming in the form of a track sampling the late Labour politician Tony Benn. There’s nothing markedly different about what the duo are doing here in comparison to their first collaboration, but the combination of Fell’s chords and Thaemlitz’s keys is still impossible to resist.
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Various – Nothing Matters When We’re Dancing (Cocktail D’Amore)

nothing-matters-200Berlin’s Cocktail D’Amore party (and now label) was founded by Italian pair Discodromo and Berghain resident DJ Boris five years ago as a monthly party for the gay community offering a change from the city’s predominant techno focus. Nothing Matters When We’re Dancing is a compilation celebrating the party’s fifth birthday, and features exclusive trackls from artists reflecting the flavour of the night. What that means is analog house with a splash of cosmic disco from the likes of Lord Of The Isles, Heatsick, Young Marco, Black Deer and more – in other words a fairly great selection of tracks even if you’ve never been to Cocktail D’Amore.
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Todd Terje – Preben Remixed (Olsen)

preben-remixed-200Todd Terje’s debut album might have been released nearly a year ago, but the singles keep on coming. This time it’s a pair of remixes of the neo-lounge album tracks “Leisure Suit Preben” and “Preben Goes To Acapulco”, as provided by veteran French producer I:Cube and Scanolaeric icon Prins Thomas. The former is just the kind of chunky slice of mid-tempo cosmic house you’d expect from the Versatile mainstay, while Prins Thomas’ revision sounds more like a live cover version played in his living room whilst wearing his dressing gown – just the makeover the laid back original deserves.
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Antoni Maiovvi – Avrokosm (Not Not Fun)

avrokosm-200For seven years Antoni Maiovvi has been spinning giallo-inspired soundscapes and Italo-electro club tracks out of his analog synthesizers, occupying a space of his own placed somewhere between John Carpenter and I-F. If you’ve yet to experience his music then the six-track Avrokosm LP for ever-shifting US label Not Not Fun is the ideal place to start. In the words of the label it “assumes an almost ethno-musicological perspective of a distant desert planet”, and it’s something that can be clearly heard in the swirling, VHS-phased melodies and arid rhythms.
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2AM/FM – Doomsday Initiative I (Nation)

doomsday-initiative-I-200The Doomsday Initiative is a new conceptual series from the irrepressible Nation label, one that translates the end of the world musically into Jakbeat form. The first installment sees Tadd Mullinix and D’Marc Cantu’s 2AM/FM project take the helm, with three tracks that more than convey the apocalyptic concept, with the frazzled acid of “Beyond Instinct” and shifting psychedelic techno of “Save Face” contrasted with the serene “Omnibus”, provides the calm after the devastation caused by its companions.
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