This week at Juno

TWAJ

A new label from Oliver Ho, more from Jealous God, the return of Luke Slater’s The 7th Plain to Pearson Sound and Damon Bell 12″s, a massive Varg reissue and single-sided John T. Gast heat.

Broken English Club – Myth Of Steel & Concrete (Death & Leisure)

BEC-7-COVERIt was February this year that news of Oliver Ho launching his own label, Death & Leisure, crept into our news room, with Ho himself telling Juno Plus it’s to be a platform where “absurdist melodrama meets vile electronics.” Listening to this debut release it’s hard to conjure up a better way to explain the music than that, with the B-side’s lurching “Our History In Bones” the perfect ambient soundtrack for an unwritten wild west horror, jangling cowbells and all. “Myth Of Steel & Concrete” rains down broken beat drums like it’s one of Ho’s early Blueprint records, with science-fiction sound effects and atmospheres supplying the production with grizzly undertones, which in parts sounds like a bad trip to the dentist. Following several turns on Cititrax and Jealous God, to now witnessing Ho’s first solo steps as Broken English Club, makes for a wholly fulfilling listen.
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Domenico Crisci – Issue n. 12 (Jealous God)

JG12_450From one Jealous God debutante to the other, Domenico Crisci is honoured with providing the label with a 12th ‘issue’ which arrives all the more loaded seeing as Jealous God revealed it would be shutting up shop in the coming 12 months or so. Each track here is bedded in a gnarly wash of turbulent basslines which are as punk as they are viscous, ’90s techno sounding. The influences Regis has had on Crisci’s style bleeds through as red as the cover art, particularly on “Seagulls Scream” which harks back to O’Connor classics like “Speak To Me” and “Model Friendship”, with each of the four tracks on this EP a refreshing differentiation of themselves. It’s no secret that Italians like their techno hard, and with Repitch Recordings throwing everything they can at recreating the Birmingham sound, it’s nice to see Crisci break through with a four-track seal of approval from the Jealous Gods themselves.
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Pearson Sound – XLB (Pearson Sound)

XLB-450David Kennedy has always been good at exercising patience when it comes to releasing music, although with an album, an EP and some Extended Mixes last year, it was a relatively bountiful time for avid Pearson Sound fans. He breaks his silence for 2016 with a track that seems to have been amassing a healthy buzz in club and internet circles, existing in a scene where the value of an upfront exclusive is still a powerful force subject to radio rips and the like. It’s with good reason that “XLB” is getting attention though – it’s a surefire club burner that also betrays the sound of a producer having a lot of fun playing around with sound in the studio. The sonics here which rise and fall are sure to inspire plenty of mind-bending moments for well garnished ravers in the months to come, while the B-side “Tsunan Sun” provides a more conventional emotive stepper of an alternative should you require one.
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Dan White – Digital Physics (Brokntoys)

brokntoys-450In a variety of guises, including Rings Around Saturn, Rory McPike is making his presence felt with some fine, thoughtful electronics. As Dan White he has already charmed Forbidden Planet, Butter Sessions and Normals Welcome, and he comes to ever-productive electro outpost Brokntoys with a record that perfectly taps into the fertile field of deep electro equally mined by the likes of VC-118A. “Ghost Train” is an especially sleepy affair, even with a kick drum pummelling away underneath. The synths drift in and out of tune and the snares stutter and scuff, making it an interesting choice for lead track. Meanwhile “Buckley’s Escape” is a more sprightly affair, although still very much in an introspective mindset before we plunge back into the depths for “Bunjil”. “Digital Detox” meanwhile brings a more defined machine funk to the fore, taking some cues from Aphexian melodic warbles, closing out the EP in a splendid fashion.
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Damon Bell – Ankh Boogie (Don’t Be Afraid)

DBA025_labelA_1Most commonly found turning out spiritually-enhanced house music on Deepblak, Damon Bell makes the move over to Don’t Be Afraid with some of his most club-minded material to date. “Ankh Boogie” is one of those tracks that manages to express multiple different emotions at once, coming on rousing, mysterious and melancholic thanks to a strong array of synth lines flying in over the straight-forward drum jack. “Aural Afrek” meanwhile is the EP highlight, burrowing down for a psychedelic experience similar to the murky magic of Bell’s Banyana EP on Soundofspeed. “Time For Change” finishes the EP off with a moody set of keys and a shuffling drum set that pitches the track somewhere in the later stages of the warm-up, both rhythmically energised and meditative in equal measure. It’s certainly a different affair from last year’s Blues For The Libyan album, drawing on Bell’s most danceable qualities and coming up trumps in the process.
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Africans With Mainframes – Faces Of Africa (Mathematics)

Faces Of AfricaWith their KMT album still doing the rounds on Soul Jazz, Noleian Reusse and Jamal Moss serve up even more Africans With Mainframes material for you to get your freak on to. There’s a wicked thread of disco running through “Pulse Of An Ancient Land” which cries out for a party to set alight to, the forthright acid lines rubbing up against the stiff march of the drums in a delightfully funky manner. “Sense Of Place Strength Of Being” seems like a follow-up version from the previous track, taking the component elements and heading into a deep, cerebral soundscape that revels in some fine dubby processing. “Shaped By Earth Empowered By Nature” then presides over the B-side with a more rambunctious set of drums. The fact that there’s still space for the regal string sweeps of Detroit techno to instill a sense of calm in the track is very surprising indeed.
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The 7th Plain – Chronicle I (A-Ton)

The-7th-Plain-cover-450Back in the mists of ‘90s UK techno, there was a time when everything was very serene and calm (before the influx of loopy tribal business took hold), and the likes of Luke Slater were to be found indulging in a more armchair-focused brand of beats n’ synths. The 7th Plain only materialised for a smattering of releases (including the fantastic The 4 Cornered Room), but there was some serious quality in the project before it gave way to the perennial Planetary Assault Systems alias and many others. Ostgut-Ton have launched a new sublabel to explore experimental and archival material, and they’ve reached out to Slater to dig some fresh material out of the archives from those wide-eyed, innocent days, and Chronicle I is the result. It’s a masterclass of ambient techno, standing comfortably alongside the previously released 7th Plain material, making it a real treat for existing fans as well as a fine introduction for those new to the name.
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Varg – Star Alliance (Posh Isolation)

varg-450Talk about reissues, Posh Isolation have gone in with this 16-track, double LP of a six cassette Varg box set the Danish label released in late 2015. Its music ranges from the simplistic yet evocative field recordings of “Red Lights/Venue, Midnight” which captures the distant beats and reverb of a nightclub near by while others like “Stroboscopic Observations On Ecstasy” and album highlight “The Eyes Of An Excellent Lover” delves into deeper, acid-laden techno trips that Varg first impressed with on his debut missive Misantropen. Varg is one of the few artists out there at the moment who can release such volumes of music and still have people craving for more, and following this year’s Georgia-inspired ჟინვალი LP to last year’s Ursviken and Story Of K albums, to others as Ulwhednar and D.Å.R.F.D.H.S. collaborations with Abdullah Rashim and Michel Isorinne, Star Alliance goes a some way to outshining them all.
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NHK yx Koyxen – Doom Steppy Reverb (Diagonal)

DIAG034_450Following a debut CD album on Mille Plateaux in 1998, it was roughly a decade later that Kohei Matsunaga’s sonic talents truly broke through via Raster-Noton’s Unun series, a run of records which shares an affinity with Japanese artists following releases by Aoki Takamasa, Kyoka and Ueno Masaaki’s highly recommended Vortices EP. It was PAN’s trilogy of Matsunaga’s Dance Classics volumes one through to three which gained the Osaka-based artist some wider recognition in 2013 before landing a debut on Diagonal last year with Hallucinogenic Doom Steppy Verbs EP. While Matsunaga’s latest full length may have dropped the Hallucinogenic from this LP title, Doom Steppy Reverb is well trippy enough. By Diagonal’s standards the album delivers semi-functional club cuts in the dubby techno number “Y” – probably the most ‘doom steppy’ track on the LP – to the fumbled drums of “1038 Lo Oct Short” and weirdo rhythms of “1073+Snare”. For something more abstract, Doom Steppy Reverb presents a style of techno that may be a little leftfield of Oscar Mulero’s Pole Group massive, but will still appeal to lovers of Chain Reaction and sizzling experimental, German approved sonics.
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John T. Gast – Overseer (Apron)

sl-110770Last week saw Dean Blunt surprise everyone with a new Hype Williams album – seemingly sans Inga Copeland – and here we have another shadowy figure associated with that group pop up on FunkinEven’s Apron label. It should be pretty clear we are big fans of John T. Gast, not least his extremely under-rated album for Planet Mu last year, and part of his music’s undeniable appeal is never really knowing what to expect from him. This one-sided Overseer finds Gast doing DJ tools but in a manner that is unsettling; a detached spoken word delivery remaining eerily calm as Gast conjures seven minutes of focused rhythmic drama. If John Carpenter did DJ tools they might sound like this. Gast fanatics will know he has plenty of form for utilising odd vocals that are either indecipherable or audible yet perplexing – a recent tape on 5 Gate Temple at one point featured a strange conversation revolving around baked beans – and part of the charm of “Overseer” is trying to work out exactly where he sourced those chilling words from.
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