Review: After kicking things off with the killer "Mariachi Guadalajara" by Lewski, Or:la's Cead label returns with another emergent talent, Blu Terra. The Warsaw based producer comes on strong for this breakthrough release with the heavy slapping, sound design-enhanced electro of "Person Sans". Even if the opening track felt detailed, it's superseded by the barrage of information spilling out of crafty, distinctive acid monster "20,000". "Western/Eastern" spreads across the B-side in a nervous twitch of rave energy geared towards big dark spaces, perfect for that spine-tingling part of the night when the real world feels very far away indeed.
Review: Secretsundaze return with a second volume of their new mixtape series. After the success of the Joe Claussell tape they turn to Carista for another introspective mix aimed at a relaxed home-listening session.
In May 2018, Carista performed one of her first international gigs at Secretsundaze in London and went on to play 2 other shows for them that year. A year later, she has become a mainstay on the European club & festival circuit, playing to an ever growing, passionate and loyal fanbase week in week out, already playing shows that most DJs would only dream of, including closing a stage at Lowlands festival to an audience of 10000. No wonder a recent Mixmag article crowned her as "A DJ star in the making".
Her residencies on NTS and Red Light Radio showcase her love of house, boogie, broken beat, disco, funk and beyond. Her DJ gigs can also see her explore further into house and techno but this mixtape showcases a different, softer side of Carista blending ambient soundscapes, jazz, dub and soul as well as some poignant words from Nina Simone.
This is Carista's debut physical format release so don't sleep!
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: 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: Dutch minimal techno hero Koos "Ion" Ludwig teams up with multi-instrumentalist Twan Sallaerts to present a collection of experimental and electro acoustic ambient journeys on this one for Berlin-based label Meander's Horizon Pi Series. Ludwig's singular sound is recognised by his penchant for all things esoteric and hypnotic, and although this is a non-dancefloor affair he still manages to channel that aesthetic into this collection of tracks, by way of Sallaerts' competent classical know-how on "Entre-Acte". The title track's mesmerising use of sparse melody and disorienting pads over a slow motion / skeletal drum groove is almost just a pitched-down version of Ludwig's usual work when you think about it, while the droning tension and suspense of the atmospheric "Towaknos Carpet" is much more of a departure. Elsewhere, free jazz and film score aesthetics collide on the moody "C.A.T. Track" and the cavernous and glacial ambient textures of "Ijsselzand" only add to the many moments of introversion offered here.
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: Ex-Terrestrial associate Richard Wenger - better known as R Weng - dons a new alias here, for an album that's apparently the result of a "three-year experiment in minimal synth maximalism". In practice, that means a hugely enjoyable trip through Radio Workshop style synthesizer motifs, hypnotic machine rhythms, 1970s style electronic music soundscapes, jaunty turn-of-the-90s IDM and occasional forays into decidedly dubbed-out, synth-driven grooves. It's a hugely enjoyable collection of cuts, with Wenger providing finished tracks that sound like they could have been made in 1979 (or in some cases, '69) rather than 2019.
Review: Midnight Shift continues its fine run of form via a mini-album of bleak intensity from renowned modular electro/analogue rave fusionist Umwelt, an artist whose distinctive releases are always worth a listen. The French producer sets his stall out via title track "Superior Life Forms", an undeniably heavy and distinctively dystopian chunk of broken electro fuzziness, before reaching for even grimier electronics and gut-punching bass on "Computer Controlled". "Latent Existence" is a moody, beat-free soundtrack for urban decay, "Fragment" and closer "The Windfall" are teak-tough industrial techno stompers, while "Shadow Entity" is a suitably psychedelic slab of trippy acid electro. Not for those of a fragile disposition, but impressively intense and forthright nonetheless.
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.
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.