Review: French producer 1977 aka Matsa, delivers a bold and subtle blending of ambient textures, deep pads and raw rhythms perfectly mixed with some minimal sequences. In Brief, a fine and complete piece of electronic music, made with constant attention to detail. Starting out with the hauntingly emotive ambience of "Tkg" where sub bass pulsations lurk between the crackling of surface noise, pitch shifted vocals and transcendental chilling pads, then the dusty and emotive deep house of "Soso" which is informed equally by Fred P as it is by the likes of Lawrence. On the flip, there's the rather Fred P sounding "Mondat" which is the highlight a smoothly emotive deep house number while "Toine" gets dubbier and subterranean in a way that UntilMyHeartStops fans will appreciate.
Review: London label No More Dreams are back with more dry-as-a-bone techno reductions by Sweden's Axel Backman. This will appeal to fans of Waveform Transmissions era Jeff Mills (particularly on the savage and cyclical grind of "93") or classic Regis and Surgeon. Shadowy British duo Rezzett get onboard for a remix of "94" on the flip , where the Trilogy Tapes affiliated artists replace the gutsy tribal stomp of the original with a deep and slow burning rendition that slithers away beneath dense tape saturation and hiss -much like a vivid dream sequence captured to VHS. Bold stuff indeed. Tip!
Review: Surface Records has never pulled any punches as one of the UK's toughest techno labels, and The 65D Mavericks have embodied the same spirit with their charged, lyrically provocative approach. After a lengthy hiatus label and artist are back in action, and sounding as fierce as ever. "False Prophets" is not for the faint hearted - an avalanche of thunderous drums and expletive-laden diatribes. "Cosmic Drift" is marginally more meditative, but still positively unhinged in its execution. "You Lost Your Mind" flails around a muddy, punky swamp of deviant sonic behaviour, and "Immovable (dub)" throws one last curveball into the long grass, stripping out the bark without losing the bite of this proudly individual group of techno marauders.
Review: New label Tell Zero Records hits the ground running with a 10" ambient white label that really impresses. There is some lush, slow motion tribalism on the A side that dives deep into the exotic. On the flip, the second beatless journey features some sombre and evocative Olafur Arnalds style piano playing over some haunting field recordings assembled into a captivating collage.
Review: Alien atmospheres, bassy sonar blips, crackling ambience, fizzing white noise and a barely-there groove makes the A-side of this second Nautil 12" a delight for ambient, industrial, drum and bass, techno and by and large experimental lovers alike. 943 has all the hallmarks of a Felix K production only without the rolling D&B beats, but who needs them when you have spatial textures like this! Toolshop drums with the rhythm of a hammer hitting a nail out of time provides the B-side with a awkward groove while dubby stabs form and disappear in the background behind the sound of hissing pistons from a make-believe steam works.
Review: While the name may be new, A New Line (Related) is supposedly the work of an already established musician, although Kimochi was never a label that cared about hype. The music stands just fine on its own, digging into the kind of dusty and dusky house and techno formations that the label has forged its hand-sprayed identity on. There's plenty of ambient techno twirls to be enjoyed on the likes of "Dancing On Soft Borders", while the beats melt away entirely on "After A Short Illness" and grandiose EP closer "RIYL Failures". Once again Kimochi comes up with the kind of meaningful variations on the 4/4 framework that keep our record bags full and our souls enriched.
Review: You can always count on Afrikan Sciences to flip the script with what you think soulful electronic music should sound like. Tearing the grid up and pinging off on a cosmic voyage in between the notes, this is futuristic, jazz-minded machine music of the highest order. "Reciprocess" is a shuddering, but surprisingly focused exercise in cracking open the house music structure, while "Hullman Z" gets into a brilliantly futuristic boogie. "Just In Case I Do" takes a more laid back approach without eschewing the essential dose of freakiness, and "Son Shine" takes things in an explicitly broken beat direction with spellbinding results.
Review: Thankfully, Richard D. James has decided to finally release at least some of the output that he's been banging on about since mid-2000s. In a number of interviews, the might Aphex Twin hinted that he has vast artilleries of tracks stacked up and unreleased, probably more on purpose than out of laziness...or maybe not. What we do know is that AFX is reborn after the string of acid 12"s released about 10 years ago on Rephlex, that saw the alias become one of the most popular of James' alter egos. Orphaned Deejay Selek is a collection of tunes that contain all of the Twin's magic and unpredictably, but that also cut straight to the point and head to the middle of the dance floor. This is banging brain dynamite coated in the man's iconic style and flair. Welcome back AFX, and many hats off to Warp for making it happen.
Review: Chicago label Chained Library present some contemplative minimal noise experiments courtesy of the mysterious Agnes who presents the 012016002001 EP and it is mastered by the one and only Rashad Becker: which is fitting really. Fans of Becker's recent works will really appreciate these extreme and at times challenging sonic workouts on both sides, approximately 15 minutes each. Both extended pieces are reductionist electronic sound art at its finest. Very intrigued as to what this imprint is up to next.
Review: If you were one of the lucky few to pick up the illicit compilation A Few More Things From Ivan Smagghe (And Friends) the dapper French selector put out a few years ago you should be familiar with this one. "Civil Defense" by Danny Alias first emerged in 1984, a strange proto-everything-that-has-come-since track which was spun by the great Ron Hardy and has been a long term favourite of Smagghe and his KTDJ cohorts. It gets another lease of life thanks to Smagghe and Leon Oakey's always entertaining Les Disques De La Mort label with no less than five different versions to choose from, including a re-edit from the aforementioned Ron Hardy.
Review: Back in 2016, legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen approached techno pioneer Jeff Mills with the idea of working together. A series of live gigs and off-the-radar studio sessions followed, with the first fruits of their joint efforts finally appearing on this must-have 10". As you'd expect, the duo's collaborative work combines Allen's traditional Nigerian polyrhythms, traditional Afrobeat instrumentation, and the far-sighted, sci-fi inspired electronic futurism that has always marked out Mills' work. The result is a quartet of cuts that could arguably be described as retro-futurist Afro-tech - all delay-laden beats, basslines and organs subtly sparring with gentle acid lines, Motor City electronics, beguiling deep space textures and shimmering, 31st century motifs. It's arguably Allen's stylistic contributions that dominate, but that's no bad thing.
Review: BOOM! Our favourites, Cititrax, roll the third editions of Tracks out onto our shelves, and the results are unsurprisingly strong on this excellent various artists comp. It's a mixed bag of skills, as per usual, and the sounds are those of a new NYC, fuelled by a new sort of post-industrial sensibility. Amato Y Mariana open with the tight beats and groove of "Queires Bailar", followed closely by the ominous compositions of the EBM-flavoured "Montgat" from The Sixteen Steps. On the flip, His Dirty Secrets bleeps out some morphed acid on "Structures", and "Another Stranger" from Further Reductions churns out a slow, mild-mannered house experiment with its roots clearly planted in the coldest of waves. Sick.
Review: There's a delightfully celebratory feel about this debut volume of Cititrax Tracks, a new 12" series from Minimal Wave offshoot Cititrax. As beautifully presented as we've come to expect, Tracks Volume 1 boasts a quartet of dancefloor-ready smashers from a blend of new faces and label stalwarts. Amato (aka The Hacker) kicks things off with the glistening EBM funk of "Physique" - all restless synth refrains and pounding bottom end - before LIES affiliate Tsuzing go all dark, psychedelic and twisted on the thrillingly intense, acid-flecked "King of System". An-I go all DAF (with a touch of Front 242) on the fuzzy and dystopian stomper "Mutter", before Cititrax regulars Broken English Club delivers a storming chunk of industrial-tinged analogue funk ("Glass"). Bravo!