Review: After completing a quadrilogy of Mecanica releases for ESP Institute inspired by "opium dens and whorehouses" earlier this year, Serbian artist Nenad Markovi? brings his 33 10 3402 project to Music From Memory offshoot Second Circle. If you indulged in anyone of those Mecanica 12"s for Andrew Hogge's label you will be all over this Bura EP with Markovic channelling similar depths of rhythm and texture across the four tracks. There's enough semblance of rhythm on display in cuts like the title track and the dubby machine funk of "Syg" to intrigue the more adventurous DJs out there whilst "P-Tok" could easily be mistaken for a forgotten Borft B side. A superb record.
Review: Tropical house jams by new kid Androo! Second Circles' first release of the summer features an EP of tracks by this young producer from Switzerland. Having released on the Sparring Partner label (which he co-runs with Bony Fly), Androo has another release imminent on his second imprint Poly Dance. Coming from the sound system scene in Geneva, Androo began to produce 80/90s infused digital dub as a teenager. His interest in jazz, new wave, dub and house gently collide in his studio: a place he sees as a laboratory of experimentation where everything is mixed, dubbed and recorded live at the console. With this first EP release on Second Circle, Androo's music reveals a desire to avoid categorisation whilst displaying a clear love for percussive rhythms and emotive melodies.
Review: LA cosmic soul merchant Benedek returns with his first fresh material since 2017's exemplary sophomore set Bene's World. Fitting the season with balmy charm, "Earlyman Dance" is every bit as slinky and blue light as the title (or indeed Benedek's reputation) suggest. Balearic, jazzy and just pinch of yacht; both the original and the Canyon Version are pure sunset jams. "Maca" continues the slinky theme with a hip-wriggling, liquid rhythm while the much more mystic, spacious "Tengu's Mystery" takes us much deeper into the unknown folds of the night and the heavily reverbed slo-mo "Sixtern" chugs us all the way to sunup. It's not early. It's not late. Benedek, as ever, is bang on time.
Review: Cris Kuhlen is more commonly known as a graphic designer, whose art in the last ten years has graced the covers of albums by Sabrine Star, Anouk and even Aretha Franklin. Here he appears as a producer himself under the name Dazion and delivers some some Afro influenced grooves reminiscnet of Fela Kuti on A side cut "Be A Man" while the afro vocals continue on B side offering "Dancing In The future" but musically it is '80s style Balearica reminiscent of Lauer or Fabrizio Mammarella. "Rigola" is a lo-slung synhthpop ditty that sounds like one of Chris Carter's more upbeat solo offerings heard on albums like Mondo Beat back in the day. Following up promising works in the studio as Tears & Marble previously, Kuhlen is one to watch.
Review: Tim Schumacher has tasted great success under the DJ Normal 4 alias, with DJs and dancers responding positively to his trippy, rave-fired blends of vintage drum breaks, wild electronics, mind-altering rhythms and psychedelic intent. This EP on Music From Memory offshoot Second Circle is musically expansive, with the presence of bustling breakbeats and darting synth bass on exotic (and excellent) closing track "La Arabia". The central atrraction is arguably "Aeo", which comes in contrasting mixes: the floor-friendly "Rhythm Mix", with its drowsy vocal chants, feverish electronics, slipped synthesizer melodies and bustling machine drums, and the humid, beat-free tropical synth-scape that is the "Ottertasia Mix". The whole EP sounds a little like a Nacho Patrol record on hallucinatory drugs, which we think is a good thing.
Review: To date, sometime Antinote and Melody as Truth contributor D.K (AKA Paris-based producer Dang-Khoa Chau) has yet to release a duff record. In fact, we'd go as far as saying that each of his releases has been nothing less than essential. The Mystery Dub EP, his first 12" for Music From Memory offshoot Second Circle, is every bit as alluring as its predecessors. As usual, many of the tracks come doused in humid, tropical samples, boast rush-inducing chords and melodies, and are underpinned by brilliantly programmed, Maxmillion Dunbar style machine rhythms. Highlights-wise, we're rather enjoying boisterous, delay-heavy opener "Stick By The Rules (Long Version)" and the ambient house influenced brilliance of "Rebound", though the simpler "Mystery Dub" and obligatory ambient cut "Wise Bird" are similarly impressive.
Review: Second Circle's latest mini-album comes from the previously unheard Giuseppe Leonardi, a "young Viennese musician" whose heady, synthesizer-heavy style is reminiscent of some of the curious obscurities reissued on parent label Music From Memory. While experimental in nature - think skewed combinations of lo-fi analogue keyboards, sparse and dusty drum machine hits and all manner of manipulated voices - each of the five tracks is pleasingly melodious. Combined with a range of left-of-centre influences from the early-to-mid '80s (think new wave ambient, new wave and British post-punk dub), it makes for a heady and arresting collection of tracks that actually gets better with each successive listen.
Review: With Jonny Nash and Red Light's Tako Reyenga at the controls, this second Sombrero Galaxy release - the first for five years - was never going to be anything less than a spacey gem. That's exactly what they deliver, blending gentle but surprisingly tough drum machine rhythms with outer-space chords, lilting melodies and yearning, almost heart-aching melodies. Reyenga's Japanese roots come to the fore on "Planetary Dance", which wraps oriental synthesizer melodies around Motor City electronics, shimmering guitar passages and a metronomic groove. "The Edge of Space" is similarly inclined, with fluttering acid lines and throbbing sub-bass only serving to increase the spaced-out, Detroit-goes-deep mood.
Review: Music From Memory's Second Circle offshoot - an imprint designed to release fresh productions, rather than the reissues that the parent label is more famous for - reaches release number five, with Aussie audio explorer Tornado Wallace at the helm. He begins in typically atmospheric fashion with "Falling Sun", a lolloping, sunset-friendly cut that peppers a slack-tuned, tribal-influenced drum pattern with bubbly, eyes-closed melodies and spacey chords. His penchant for African-influenced drums is explored further on the dense but hazy "Singing Planet" and "Kakadu", where the bongo-heavy rhythms eventually come to the fore after a spellbinding, ambient introduction.
Little Birds, Moonbath (feat Michelle Helene Mackenzie) (6:06)
Tipu's Tiger (feat Pender Street Steppers) (10:11)
Of Yesterday (instrumental) (5:37)
The Ultimate Which Manages The World (4:40)
Words Without Sound (6:09)
Review: With a drowsy, loved-up trademark sound that sits somewhere between the beach, bedroom and the dancefloor, Canada's Yu Su is a great fit for Music From Memory offshoot Second Circle. The resultant EP is arguably her strongest to date. She begins by enlisting the help of Michelle Helene Mackenzie, who provides a drowsy spoken word vocal on the ultra-deep and starry brilliance of "Little Birds, Moonbath". Fellow Vancouver residents Pender Street Steppers lend a hand on the deep and picturesque shuffle of "Tipu's Tiger", while "Of Yesterday (Instrumental)" sees Yu Su wrap meandering synth solos atop hazy chords and gentle tribal drums. Elsewhere, "The Ultimate Which Manages The World" is dubbed-out and effortlessly Balearic, while "Words Without Sound" offers up more intricate hand percussion and some sparse electronic elements.