Review: Michigan producer John Beltran is a master of atmosphere and emotion. His ambient has been used for countless seminal TV shows, he's been cited as an inspiration to Four Tet and has put out key albums on labels like Delsin and Peacefrog. Here he is in a distinctively club-focussed mood, but the synths still very much speak to your heart. "The Lake" is pure Motor City techno soul, and the ambient reprise allows you to wallow in his pads even more. "Twilight" then bustles with shimmering metal hits while pixelated keys drift about like a million fire flies in a warm night sky. Lush.
Review: Italian, Treviso-based composer Chevel i aka Dario Tronchin i returns to duty with "Unlimited Drinks" on the secretive Fracture imprint, following his "Always Yours" album on Mumdance's Different Circles label, going further into electronic intimacy, publishing a two-tracks/movements exercise prolonging his researches on sound design poetry. The opener "Floating" progresses into A2 "Unlimited Drinks", and it could go vice-versa, both tracks responding to one another, progressing towards each other, as literally as musically. The latest's respiration i or psyche?i is followed on the b-side by a remix from Raster royalty Byetone, blessing us with Floating's doppelganger. Emo contemporary electronics at its best!
Review: This is the third and final entry in Nils Frahm's Encores series and it finds the celebrated contemporary piano man layer in more percussive and electronic elements than the previous two instalments. The source music was made as part of the sessions for his last album "All Melody" and honed during live performances. As fans will know, "All Armed" here has been a staple of those live sets for some time and is 12 minutes of plaintive piano playing and wallowing synths that will sink you deep into the German's expressive world.
Review: The Isla stable heads far out every time, but they're getting especially adventurous on this new missive from La Fe - a duo made up of Michael Red and Daniel Rincon (also known as Sounds and Ambien Baby respectively). There's a dense, ethnological tone to the percussion sources, with humid atmospherics sticking close to the drums throughout. Quite where the music is headed is unclear - somewhere out on the plains of the Fourth World no doubt - and the ambiguity is part of the charm.
Review: 12th Isle's latest must-check chunk of entertaining experimentalism comes from Lo Kindre, whose dub-wise 2017 debut on Optimo Music was arguably one of that year's most overlooked EPs. "Chlorophytum", the producer's first solo missive since then, is another lo-fi electronic dub treat. Of course, it's not all gentle bass-heavy rhythms, endless delay trails and cute electronic melodies - closing cut "For Sleep" is a buzzing electronic raga, for example - but it's on these bass-heavy excursions that Lo Kindre most frequently hits the spot. Highlights include the extraordinarily sub-heavy shuffle of "Sounder", the ambient dub wooziness of "Aibell" and the creepy alien-dub oddness of "No Hiding".
Review: Local Talk hits the rather significant catalogue number of 100 with a forward thinking EP that stays true to its MO over the last few years. It finds MLiR aka Modern Life Is Rubbish joined by Arnau Obiols to serve up a brace of brilliant tunes that blur the lines between a myriad different dance styles. "Lajbans" is a playful, fun tune with tooting arps and cosmic melodies all married to a chugging beat that Todd Terje would be proud of. The Bellaterra dub on the flip reworks it with plenty of space echo, knob twirling effects and sci-fi atmospheres. A tidy little package.
Neuzeitliche Bodenbelage & Sam Irl - "Faeden" (5:35)
Review: Earlier in the year, Fantastic Twins' Julienne Dessagne offered up the first volume in a new series of multi-artist EPs with a decidedly psychedelic electronic bent. Four months on, she's assembled another team of musical miscreants to deliver more audio "Microdosing". Oceanic kicks things off with the Steve Reich style melodic loops and gently pulsating electronic rhythms of "Parallel Lines Of Stripes", before Versatile Records founder Gilb'R dives deep into swirling ambient waters via the multi-speed oddness of "Cosmogonie". Over on side B, Lucas Croon fuses post-dubstep rhythms, skittish drum solos, twisted acid lines and intergalactic electronics on "Threshold Stimulus", while Neuzeitliche Bodenbelage and Sam Irl join forces for the kosmiche throb of "Faeden".
Review: Having previously appeared on Nyame and Something Happening, Somewhere, Amsterdam-based producer Vand now brings his delicate, dubby take on techno to Alpengluhen. Nodding to the atmospheric moods of Claro Intelecto and the like, he draws you in with the icy refrains of "Altarf-unn" before upping the emotion with the heart-wrenching pads of "Concord". "Kodama" has a more pronounced impact which is tempered by liberal delay and reverb, and "Paraztul" keeps things spacious and fractured for a more electronica-tinged trip outside the 4/4 slipstream.
Review: For the past six years Jazzy Couscous has been exploring nooks and crannies of Japanese music culture in search of overlooked gems across all kinds of styles. After the success of the first installment of "Kumo No Muko", label boss Alixkun returns with another expansive collection of ambient, new age and smooth jazz reflections from a range of artists. The mood is consistently pretty, not to mention delicately executed, whether veering towards the sweet string refrain of Ayuo Takahashi's "Mizu Iro No Kagami" or the bittersweet prog guitar licks of Toru Hatano's "Kanki". There are bleepy synth trips like Akira's "Essence Of Beauty" and beat-embellished grooves to sink into - miss this rare and beautiful record at your peril.
The Sixteen Steps - "Tales From The Old Country" (5:47)
Neud Photo - "Plagued By Consciousness" (6:08)
Review: As was the case with its predecessors, the third volume in VEYL's ongoing "Previously Undisclosed Rituals" series is packed to the rafters with angry, lo-fi club cuts, paranoid pagan techno and wild, mind-altering dancefloor throb-jobs. It's all of a high standard, of course, but we're particularly enjoying the drowsy late night hypnotism of Terrence Fixmer's "Always Through", the pitch-black electronic body music of The Sixteen Steps' "Tales From The Old Country", the foreboding late night creepiness of Neud Photo's decidedly trippy "Plagued By Consciousness" and the rip-snorting techno stomp of VTSS's nails-hard opener "Toxic Bleach". In a word: intense.