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This week at Juno


Music from Planet Mu, Northern Electronics, Tempa, The Death Of Rave, Livity Sound, Modern Love and more.

Trux – Trux (Office Recordings)

Trux – Trux (Office Recordings)The catalogue of releases from Office is a considered one, spreading just six over the past four years and turning to a select range of artists. As well as singles from Christopher Rau and Iron Curtis the majority of output has come from Baaz, but now a new character enters the fold. Quite where Trux comes from nobody is sure, but this self-titled LP makes a strong impression immediately. The tone on Trux is predominantly abstract, often eschewing beats in favour of percussion-free excursions shaped out by rhythmic melodic flurries. Where the drums do appear, as on “Skarb” they fall in dazzling new forms that manage to even make jungle breaks sound new. In a similar fashion to the alien signals of Duckett, this is a collection of winsome tracks that elicit true unconventional beauty out of machines to make music that is genuinely memorable.
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Silk Road Assassins – Reflection Spaces (Planet Mu)

Silk Road Assassins – Reflection SpacesWith the dust settling on the explosion of new grime adaptations, some interesting variations on the concept are coming to light. Where the likes of Visionist and Rabit revel in the plastic sheen of their melodic constructions, this first fully formed effort from Silk Road Assassins seems to keep a firm grip on the moodier side of UK bass-focused club music. Previous cameos on Gobstopper and Planet Mu teased at the potential, but now the Reflection Spaces mini-album sheds a brighter light on this shadowy concern and reveals one of the most vital exponents of the nameless London-centric scene. The balance struck between those glassy synth chimes and a truly brooding, menacing soundsystem pressure is deadly in its accuracy, keeping the overall atmosphere dark the way such club music was always meant to be.
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Alex Coulton – Ambush (Tempa)

Alex Coulton – AmbushOne of the flag bearers for the fertile breeding ground between tough-edged techno and dubstep since people stopped being able to define it accurately, Alex Coulton bowls back on to Tempa with a pair of rippers so deadly they should come with protective apparatus of some kind. “Ambush” snakes around on the tightest of rhythmic flexes, hopping deftly from one groove to the next without losing pace, even when lunging down into a half-step pose powered by a grotty old bassline that actually makes a case for LFO wobble not being a cringeworthy device when applied correctly. The tension is palpable throughout the track, providing a cool foil to the rowdy swagger of “Direction” with its bloated synth line lording it over the snappy drums. Hold tight for the first chance you get to hear this on a big rig, it promises to be rather gnarly indeed.
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Sam Kidel – Disruptive Muzak (The Death Of Rave)

Sam Kidel – Disruptive MuzakSurely one of the most academically minded of the Young Echo members, Sam ‘El Kid’ Kidel has come up with a killer concept for this new long form piece for The Death Of Rave. Fascinated by the notion of muzak, and it’s perhaps diminishing presence in these modern times, Kidel set about creating a response of sorts to ambient task-orientated music, and then proceeded to play it down the phone to the kind of call centres that normally blast it back at you whilst on hold. The ensuing release is made up of one side featuring all those bewildered phone jockeys atop luxurious swoops of shimmering metallic melody, while the flip features the “DIY Version” of the 20-minute piece aimed at encouraging others to follow Kidel’s lead in blasting beatless bliss down the phone at unsuspecting listeners. What fun, and the music’s not half bad either.
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Ishan Sound – Rush On The Tonic (ZamZam Sounds)

Ishan Sound – Rush On The TonicCris Ebdon’s Ishan Sound project has steadily become one of the most exciting manifestations of steppers culture in the modern age, having whipped up a frenzy on Tectonic, Peng Sound and Hotline amongst others with his trademark spooky flute melodics out in front. Having previously appeared on ZamZam Sounds back in 2013, Ebdon returns to the label with a new slab of half-step business that ranks as one of the moodiest pieces he has turned out to date. The measured menace of “Rush On The Tonic” is irrefutable, each element deadly in its simplicity. Meanwhile Alter Echo and E3 get busy on the remix, adding a sizable amount of filth into the signal chain and ramping up the dub processing to a most satisfying end result in the true ZamZam spirit.
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Kowton – Utility (Livity Sound)

Kowton – UtilityKowton, Kowton, Kowton. There’s been no escaping the hype surrounding his and Livity Sound’s debut long player this week. As the man himself told Oli Warwick in our interview with the south London-based producer, “it took a long time of me nagging Tom (Peverelist) to let me do an album.” His constant pestering has resulted in nine-tracks – all designed to blow up the stadium, basement or club space they’re played in – finding a release on Livity Sound. To directly compare what Kowton’s done on Utility with EDM might come across as a flippant correlation, but there’s no denying this album is designed to be played at peak time to a lot of people. There are, however, more reduced productions like “Some Cats” and “A Bluish Shadow”, though like the rest of the music on board they’re still full of tension. There’s plenty of references to UK club music and German techno to be heard too, with our tips being album opener and closer “Comments Off” and “Shots Fired”.
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Oren Ambarchi & James Rushford & Parisian Kassel Jaeger – Pale Calling (Black Truffle)

Pale Calling Black TruffleAustralian improviso Oren Ambarchi keeps the wheels of his Black Truffle label turning with a new two-track LP recorded in Paris called Pale Calling. It marks Ambarchi’s first collaboration with James Rushford and Parisian Kassel Jaeger, real name François Bonnet, whom the Australian shares space with on the Editions Mego label. With snow-capped artwork by Sunn O))) man Stephen O’Malley, Pale Calling provides two long excursions of poetic sound design with the A-side’s “Pale” painting a 20-minute picture of a frosty, desolate landscape while “Calling” features smatterings of piano and traditional strings blurred by shady atmospherics.
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Voices From The Lake – Secondo Tempo (Spazio Disponibile)

Voices From The Lake - Secondo TempoThis latest Voices From The Lake transmission launches Donato Dozzy and Neel’s Spazio Disponibile label and it’s another sweet serving or brooding Italian techno. It marks what sounds like the duo’s strongest EP since they first surfaced on Prologue in 2011 with the booming minimalism of the Silent Drops EP and in the minute details of this Secondo Tempo 12” you can really hear how the project has progressed. Fidelity is at an all-time high and the subs an all-time low – this is trippy techno. For the reserved selectors “Ibrida” is a track that may as well be called “Wormhole” while for something that might appeal to fans of Kowton’s Utility LP there’s the spiralling sounds of “258”. For something a little less subterranean – or should we say tropical – the title track should raise the spirits, in a very spectral way.
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Low Jack – Lighthouse Stories (Modern Love)

Low Jack – Lighthouse StoriesBoth Modern Love and Low Jack have come up with something special here with the former proving they’ve still got some surprises left in the bank yet. Across 10 tracks Low Jack serves up a kaleidoscope of vibrant sounds with references to ‘90s hip hop sketches, booming yet soulful techno, off the grid minimalism and a hyperactive flurry of frenetic, delay-laden musical vignettes. Only a handful of tracks exceed the three-minute mark with “Judo Coaster” combining piano rave with Mike Cooper-style exotica while “Solidor Joint” sounds like a mirrored Mr Oizo production sucked down an atom splitting black hole. The album’s crowning track though is undeniably “Six In The Morning”.
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Lundin Oil – Between The Shields (Northern Electronics)

Lundin Oil – Between The ShieldsAbdulla Rashim’s industrial ambient project steps up with a debut album on his own Northern Electronics label. Two 10”s and a cassette release on Varg’s abandoned Blodörn label precede Between The Shields which provides a clearer picture of what the project is all about. Industrial ambient may be the tag-line however there are tracks with a special style of dislocated, tribal rhythm that adventurous DJs will gravitate too: “Tear Gas Reason” and the rolling “Age Of Walls”. Some of the trippier beatless tracks include dank album opener “Facing Expulsion”, the sombre “Failed State” and the loose-wired charge of “Between The Shields”. Warning: High Voltage.
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