Review: Default Records has returned with its second release after compiling a roster of artists who are committed to establishing presence in the scene by pushing boundaries and pursuing excellence. Camelia starts us off on the A side with *Transferring*, which presents itself in a light and airy atmosphere. Its playful percussive notes are juxtaposed against its hypnotic groove making for a warm and easy listen. Macarie follows with *Flu*, a vibrant and dance-inducing sludge of gritty, piercing elements that seamlessly blooms into an emotional melody that is driven by its tantalizing rhythm. Label boss Exander shows the heavier side of his creative spectrum on the B side with *Odyssey*. The fullness of this cut accompanied by its intriguing and directive vocal is only enhanced by its delicate features and attention to detail. Closing out the compilation is Lulla's *Distort Time* which reveals all its insides with a symphony of glitchy bleeps and blops all reinforced by a cadence of drums and groove that stirs it into an electric soup.
Review: Shahr Farang continues to blossom as a label, primarily as a vessel for the work of Sohrab Karimi and Rasul Gafarov, better known as Ahu and Lenta respectively. On this occasion, Ahu and Lenta have teamed up to present some intriguing clippings from two separate improvised studio jams. As is customary with the label, the primary mode of expression is minimal techno shrouded in hazy textures and atmospheric matter, but it veers more towards the kind of clicks and cuts you'd expect from a classic Scape record than anything geared towards the dancefloor. The steady tick of a 4/4 kick means this music isn't necessarily consigned to the headphones though - the right kind of warm up slot or backroom could be just the place to melt into these delicate productions.
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: 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.
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: 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: 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: 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: 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.
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.