Review: Given his length of service and the sheer volume of music he's put out, it would be fair to say that a Jeff Mills career retrospective is well overdue. Happily, as "best of" compilations go, "Sight, Sound & Space" is up there with the best. The three discs boast no less than 42 tracks plucked from Mills archives - and those of his Axis Records imprint - with the accompanying 50-page booklet containing detailed commentary on each by the man himself. It's a superb package for both fans and newcomers alike, with the decidedly intergalactic and alien-sounding tracks perfectly summarizing the breadth and depth of his far-sighted work (think Motor City techno anthems, heavy loop jams, sci-fi fuelled electronic soundscapes, neo-classical soundtrack comp, heady ambient works and early morning minimalist club jams).
Review: Russia's Gost Zvuk label has long been a firm favourite here in the Juno office. Their glitchy, mysterious, futuristic music always makes for intriguing listening and now they celebrate five fantastic years with a compilation featuring a host of closely associated talents old and new. The bumper triple vinyl collection features paranoid experimental ambient that draws to mind covert spying operations, mangled machine music like INFX's "Damaged +dn", haunting modulated synth soundscapes from OL and skeletal techno rhythms that rewire your brain like Erofeev's "11bng". It all makes for a genuinely fresh and original collection of hugely provocative music.
Review: Under the Special Request alias, Paul Woolford has released some stellar music this year. Astonishingly, "Offworld" is his third album of 2019; it could well be the best, too. It explores different sonic territory too, drawing heavily on electro, futurist Detroit techno, Boards of Canada style IDM and the slick 1980s productions of Jam and Lewis. The result is a stunningly beautiful, spacey and far-sighted set that contains some of Woolford's most emotion-rich work to date - and that's saying something. It also finishes in stunning style with an impeccable remix/re-make of the Grid's "Floatation" that sounds like the best early 90s Orb remix you've never heard.
Security Cameras & Perimeter Walls As High As 18 Feet Topped With Barbed Wire (9:29)
Bin Laden's Corpse (11:28)
Regis - "See You Again Always" (feat Vatican Shadow) (5:29)
USS Carl Vinson Night Tide Funeral (10:31)
Supplying The Compound With Food & Medicine (4:06)
He Ambled Down The Dirt Road For Visits To A Market (5:05)
Peace Be Unto You (8:52)
Review: Dominick Fernow has always been open to reissuing some of his harder-to-find, limited edition releases, so it's little surprise that he's bowed to pressure from fans and finally offered up a vinyl edition of his previously cassette-only 2011 release "Washington Buries Al Qaeda Leader At Sea". Like much of his politically charged work in that period, the album's eight, mostly lengthy tracks tiptoe the fine line between anger and melancholy, wrapping bittersweet chords and resigned melodic motifs around a variety of bustling drum machine rhythms, ricocheting percussion hits and throbbing analogue basslines. It's all very strong, though we're particularly enjoying Regis collaboration "See You Again Always" and the dubbed-out, pitched down ambient warmth of "He Ambled Down The Dirt Road For Visits To A Market".
Cult Hero (Do You Wanna Touch Me) (with Simon Topping
Sly Is Watching
(Vi-Vi) Vicious Games (with Josh Caffe
Review: When it comes to jackin' Chicago style acid house revivalism, few can hold a candle to Paranoid London. As this long-awaited second album proves, the duo is the undisputed masters of sweaty, TB-303 driven jack-tracks and - as recent single "(Vi-Vi) Vicious Games" and LP opener "Starting Fights" prove - classic-sounding vocal cuts that recall the glory years of Fingers, Inc in the mid-to-late 1980s. Interestingly, "PL" boasts far more collaborations than we've seen from Paranoid London before, including a string of ragged club cuts blessed with evocative spoken word vocals, a thrusting acid throb-job with lead vocals by Simon Topping and a suitably twisted, machine-driven hook up with Arthur Baker and Alan Vega (the raw and weighty "Angel Of Hell").
Review: Astonishingly, 12 years have passed since Jochem Peteri cemented his status as one of techno's rising stars via his so far only album as Newworldaquarium, "The Dead Bears". Here he offers up a new, highly limited re-issue, which stretches the set over three slabs of wax (the initial pressing was a double album) and includes three tracks previously only available on the digital edition. It's a largely warm and opaque affair full of hazy melodies, tactile autumnal grooves, Motor City style sci-fi sounds, ambient textures and languid, meandering beats. There are occasional pleasant diversions - see the disco-tinged cut-up loop jam "The Tide You Can't Feel" and tipsy slow jam "The Dead Bears" - but for the most part it's an electronic muscle soak; Radox for the ears, if you will.
Review: After years spent offering up impressive blends of ambient, drone, electronica and experimental drum and bass as ASC, James Clements has decided to commit more time to Comit (sorry), an alternative project which first surfaced via a debut single in 2016. Here the San Diego-based Brit delivers a first full-length excursion under the alias. There's plenty to soothe and seduce on the eight tracks stretched across two slabs of wax, from the undulating, occasionally skittish beats and sweeping chord sequences of opener "Behind Dulled Eyes" and the icy, doom-laden electronic melancholy of "Reverie", to the early Black Dog Productions flex of "Clouded Over" and the dubbed-out, slow motion bliss of "Soft Focus".
Sly & Lovechild - "The World According To Sly & Lovechild" (Andrew Weatherall Soul Of Europe mix) (8:25)
Deniro - "Epirus" (6:34)
Psyche - "Crackdown" (5:59)
Hiver - "Paert" (7:04)
Aphex Twin - "Vordhosbn" (4:46)
Review: South Korean star Peggy Gou continues her seemingly unstoppable rise by serving up her first ever DJ mix CD. It's a contribution to one of the longest running series in the business, DJ Kicks, and she's used the opportunity to showcase the depth and variety of the music in her crates. Beginning with the classic early '90s ambient of Spacetime Continuum, Gou flits between humid, mid-tempo Balearic house (her own "Hungboo"), acid-fired downtempo electronica, throbbing 1990 peak-time anthems (Weatherall's ace but largely forgotten remix of Sly & Lovechild), hypnotic techno minimalism, main room throb-jobs (Hiver), pulsating electro, classic breakbeat hardcore, post-dubstep, dark tribal drum jams and sunrise ready Motor City brilliance (Deniro).
CIA Contractor Freed Over Pakistan Killings (9:56)
Prime Minister Defiant As Pakistan Outs CIA Agent (9:48)
Review: When Dominick Fernow first donned the Vatican Shadow alias for the politically charged "Pakistan Military Academy" album back in 2011, he had no intention of releasing the set on vinyl. Instead, it was offered up as a limited double "C20" cassette offering. Eight years on, he's finally decided to release it on wax. It remains one of Fernow's most poignant and picturesque sets under the now infamous alias, with three of the tracks delivering neo-classical style movements (played on synthesizers, rather than by a string quartet) and evocative, ear-catching ambient chords. Fernow smartly moves through the gears as the set progresses, ending with a blast of gnarled, rhythmic noise and more tear-jerking electronics. A must-have.
Review: Tribe Of Colin have done a good job of keeping their identity unknown despite plenty of well received releases. Honest Jon's gets a fourth album from the enigmatic artist(s) that deals in sludgy techno, dubby steppers and pulsing electronic music that harks back to the streets of Detroit as much as hinting at a future London landscape long after humans have long gone. Twisted synths, shimmering percussion, dark chords and complex rhythms are interwoven with gritty textures and field recordings from around the world to make it a spellbinding listen. Fans of Actress and Andy Stott will love.
Shine On Through (feat Mountain & Karina Ramage) (4:11)
Kosa (feat Keeno) (5:58)
The Encounter (feat Bop) (5:40)
Miles Ahead (feat DJ Marky) (4:11)
Morning Sunrise (feat Danny Wheeler, G Force & Blu James) (4:55)
Tokyo '96 (feat SPY) (5:24)
Show Me How You Feel (feat Lorna King) (4:52)
Dive (feat Polaris) (5:42)
Liberta (feat Urbandawn) (4:34)
Living For (feat Paul T & Edward Oberon) (5:28)
Transparent (feat Whiney) (4:57)
Mystic Crystals (feat Technimatic) (5:16)
Nexus (feat Pola & Bryson) (4:13)
Merchant Blessing (feat MC Conrad) (4:31)
Review: Makato is often cited as one of the pioneering founders of Japan's drum & bass scene. He's now up to his sixth studio album and it finds his airy, rolling, sweet flowing beats all present and correct. "Tomodachi Sessions" derived from a series of collaborations with close friends who have all played a part in his 25 year career. DJ Marky, S.P.Y, Bop and MC Conrad all feature and lend their own personalities to an album that offers celebratory hands in the air tracks like "Shine On Through" next to more late night dancers like "Transparent" and melodic explorations like "Show Me How You Feel".
Review: Last year, someone set up an online petition calling for Warp to re-release The Other People Place's brilliant Lifestyles Of The Laptop Cafe album on wax. Happily, Warp has responded to the strength of feeling from electronica fans - most of whom bristled at the high online prices for second hand copies - and re-pressed it. Drexciya man James Stinson's 2001 solo set remains a timeless electronic classic; a perfectly pitched and immaculately produced fusion of downtempo electro rhythms, spacey electronics and twinkling synthesizer melodies. In fact, you'll struggle to find a better electro album full stop, making this reissue an essential purchase for anyone not lucky enough to own an original copy.
Review: Militant Detroit techno crew Scan 7 have learned much from their association with Underground Resistance, not least the benefits of myth-making and mystery. This is one of the reasons that "Between Worlds" is fast becoming one of techno's most talked about releases of 2019. Of course, the fact that it's also the seven-piece crew's first album since 2002 has added to the hype, too. So is it any good? Oh yes. Variously deep, spacey, futuristic and foreboding, the album's 13 cuts range from pitch-black acid-fired techno ("I'm Covered") and fizzing techno-funk ("Trackmasta Hoop"), to percussion-laden deep house melancholia ("Deep Roots") and punchy club electro ("It's Time"). For the most part, though, what you get is uplifting, emotion rich techno in the style of their fellow Detroit greats.
Review: The second part of Omar S' You For Letting Me Be Myself album in vinyl form sees another 8 tracks across four sides of wax; aside from the '80s inflected sounds of the album's title track, the 303 workout of "Ready My Black Asz" finds itself with the dubbed out loops of "Messier Sixty Eight". As a bonus for those who already have the album, this part contains two vinyl exclusive tracks; the soothing deepness of "She's Sah Hero Nik" and the delayed organ weirdness of "Broken Bamalance Horn" - both more than worth the price of admission alone.
Review: These days, we're all familiar with Jan Jelinek's trademark brand of dusty, dubbed-out, jazz-sampling downtempo explorations. That wasn't the case when Loop Finding Jazz Records, his acclaimed debut album, first appeared back in 2001. It has since become an in-demand item, making this reissue more than handy. It remains a fine album; a blazed shuffle through a sonic world where dub techno, ambient, minimal house, jazz and downtempo grooves and seductive vinyl crackle merge into one intoxicating hybrid sound. It's not showy and over-the-top, but rather becalmed and subtly seductive. In other words, it's still a brilliant album and if you don't own already own a copy, you should add this to your cart sharpish.
Review: Barely six weeks after dropping her debut single on River Rapid, Henrietta Smith-Rolla pops up on Skam with a surprise debut album. As first full length excursions go, "Break Before Make" is undeniably impressive. Beginning with the spooky, minor key electronics and angular IDM rhythms of "Day Turner", the 14 track set sees Smith-Rolla successfully turn her hand to bittersweet synth-wave ("And!"), dystopian pitched-down electronica ("Guess What"), spacey electro ("Work It", "Wtfwtfwtf"), clandestine electronic soundscapes (the panicked shuffle of "Blanket Ban") and grandiose sci-fi soundtrack fare ("The Middle Middle"). Throughout, the Manchester-based producer consistently delivers otherworldly musical melancholia with a panache not associated with a producer of her relative inexperience.
Review: Given his stargazing, intergalactic ethos, it's perhaps unsurprising that sci-fi techno overlord Jeff Mills has decided to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo XI moon landing by releasing an album containing his musical "interpretations of Earth's moon". As you'd expect from an artist of Mills' standing, it's a very good album. Evocative, atmospheric and hugely spacey - this is Jeff Mills after all - the seven-track set moves from scene-setting, string-laden ambient ("Control, Satva and Rama") to sparse, acid-flecked dub techno ("Electromagnetic") via a string of fine cuts that variously touch on electro-fired broken techno ("Stabilizing The Spin"), Steve Reich style minimalism (the brilliant "Lunar Power"), and semi-orchestral electronic positivity ("The Tides").
Circling Vultures - "Frothing Over The Fruit Of Original Sin" (7:30)
Israfil - "Psy ~ K" (5:56)
Locked In Blue - "Say God" (4:17)
Years Of Denial - "You Should Worry" (5:38)
Joshua Cordova & Sam De La Rosa - "El Gusano Pendejito" (4:34)
Raum-Zeit - "Toni Fahrt Motorrad" (3:46)
Champagne Mirrors - "Evelyn's Doll" (4:02)
Review: With a true curation of artists, this double LP marks the eclectic and passionate works from Public System. The latest in the synth-heavy sludgedown from the ever impressive imprint, invites a new cast of characters into the dungeon dance. The common theme throughout this collection, seems to be wide, slowed down melancholy. Some tracks take a floor-focused jump, while others demand the attentive consumption of a more serene setting. These two discs are packed with dynamic, chugging, and forward thinking jams that make you mesh all things the imprint is clearly passionate for.
Review: Sadly departed producer Susumu Yokota made and released some breathlessly brilliant music during his lifetime. Acid Mt Fuji, a 1994 album released in the earliest stages of his recording career, is one of the strongest examples. Here, it gets a first ever vinyl release, some 24 years after the CD edition started appearing in Japanese record stores. In typical fashion, the eleven tracks on offer brilliantly combine elements of ambient, creepy horror soundtracks, IDM and Hardfloor style hard acid with beats that veer from intense and full throttle, to skewed and experimental. It's testament to the album's timeless nature that it doesn't sound like it has aged one bit. In a word: essential.
Review: Shadowy Swedish duo SHXCXCHCXSH are back with another full length on Shifted esteemed Avian imprint, with SsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSs. Always the pranksters, their cryptic language pushes the threshold yet again with the LP's 15 tracks (most come in at around three minutes) taking on increasing variations of lower and upper case. Dark and challenging freeform techno that turns the usual conventions of techno on its head, featuring harsh and textural power electronics plus the blatant abuse of looping, tape delays and excessive overdrive. Deconstructed rave aesthetics drowned in field recordings and surface noise throughout: heavy!
Review: Om Unit takes it to the bridge once again. His label's first V/A collection since its evergreen "Cosmology Selections" in 2017, it's another vast plain ripe in sonic depths and textures from some of the most left-minded, boundary-fusing captains in the bass game. Featuring two crucial link-ups from the bossman himself with two kindred spirits Djrum and Synkro plus a whole cosmic cornucopia of voyages from the likes of Danny Scrilla, J:Kenzo, Vromm and stacks more, every track is a highlight in its own beguiling way. No label flares with the same level of dark vitality, there's more than enough for our brains to chew on right here.
Review: Berlin-based British producer Joe Seaton dons the Onno Fudd alias once again, following up a couple of releases on Will Bankhead's The Trilogy Tapes label - namely 2016's terrific Blue Dot EP. Five deep and meditative cuts that merge classic house/techno flavours with IDM and ambient aesthetics - all with a modern experimental twist. We are loving the floaty and entrancing drifter that is the title track, the driving EBM style arpeggio that is central to the epic groove of "Joyride To My Inside" and the hypnotic heads down bounce of "Earth Queen Voice". On the flip, he even dons his more popular Call Super alias for the Rhythim Is Rhythim-ish vibe of "The Mess".
Electro Music Union - "Electroshock Mountain" (5:55)
Sinoesin - "Static Bodies" (4:57)
Sinoesin - "Angels Of Altitude" (part 2) (7:55)
Electro Music Union - "Immortal Cities" (4:30)
Review: For a brief period in 1993 and 1994, British imprint Metatone released some seriously good electronic music. The label was the work of former Jack Trax man Damon D'Cruz and J.M.Atkins, who wrote and produced almost all of the releases under aliases including Electro Music Union, Sinoesin and Xonox. This fine compilation from Cold Blow and AVA. Records showcases the best of this work, drifting between deep and intergalactic workouts (see the spacey ambient influences and pitched-down grooves of "Angels of Altitude (Part 1)"), blissful ambient techno ("Structures 1"), rush-inducing dancefloor positivity (the overwhelmingly good "Structures 3"), spacey ambient ("Descent") and heavyweight, post-bleep brilliance ("Electroshock Mountain").
Review: For the latest volume in their essential reissue series, Tresor has decided to offer up a brand new edition of Robert Hood's celebrated 1994 debut album, "Internal Empire". A quarter of a century after Hood first committed it to wax, it remains one of the Motor City maestro's most potent and inspired works. It effectively defined his throbbing, minimalist style, with heavy and hypnotic cuts such as the bleeping "Minus" and deep and wonky "Within" perfectly encapsulating the stripped-back genius of Hood's production. If you've yet to acquire a copy, we'd recommending grabbing one of these: in truth, no techno collection is complete without it.
Review: Fans of stripped-back, minimalist techno - particularly the Eastern European variant focused around Romania's thriving scene - will happily tell you that every release from Christi Cons and Vlad Caia's Sideways Invisibility Theory project (AKA SIT) is worth checking. This, a double-pack containing half of the tracks from their new album (a second part is also available) is certainly noteworthy. It features a quintet of trippy, low-slung late night workouts seemingly designed to operate in the cracks between tech-house and minimal techno. There are naturally subtle variations throughout - a nod to dub techno here, a psychedelic acid line or dreamy deep house texture there - but throughout, their focus remains firmly on wonky early morning workouts.
Review: Rewind to 2014: the duo previously known as Technicolour & Komatic galvanize everything they'd done before with a debut album that boosted them several levels. Four years later and Desire Paths remains a vast and vibrant set rich in emotion in all directions. From evergreen soulful, highly strung roll-outs such as "Beneath The Skies", "Music Is Music" and "Night Vision" to darker pacers like "Innermost" and "Tectonic" via off-piste surprises like the jazzed out "Mucky Jeff", this debut album stands the test of time perfectly. Last pressed two years ago, now's your chance to grab the vinyl if you missed it before.
Review: Leopoldo Rosa AKA Lerosa has been fighting against lazy categorization for years, offering up tracks that go way beyond the deep house sound he cultivated in the early years of his career. Those who still think he makes records like that should definitely check "Bucket Of Eggs", his long-awaited second album, because it's far more thrillingly wayward, off-kilter and alien-sounding than anything he's released before. It's rooted in house music - and twisted acid house, in particular - but also doffs a cap towards Rephlex style mutant electronica, turn-of-the-90s Bleep and Bass (the superbly weighty and spacey "Sheffield"), skewed electro ("Subterfuge") and even deep space electronica (killer closing cut "Don't Worry"). In a word: essential.
Review: Fresh from remixing Afrobeat legend Tony Allen for Dekmantel, Ricardo Villalobos presents his first solo outing of 2019 - an epic double-pack containing four lengthy workouts in his signature off-kilter, minimalist techno style. First up is title track "Mandela Move", where chanted South African vocals weave their way in and out of hypnotic, funk-fuelled, glitch-driven drums that rank amongst Villalobos' boldest beats for some time. "Fontec" is deeper and subtly more melodious, with plenty of weirdo noises and some seriously chunky bass, while "Ectroscop" sees our Chilean hero brilliantly blend the swinging funk of breakbeat with his mind-altering percussion and production. Finally, "Beetglass" is as crunchy, bass-heavy and percussive as anything Villalobos has done to date.