Review: The well-established drum & bass label Circle Vision continues with its often mysterious, uncredited white label series. This third instalment comes under the Circle Vision alias, which could be one person, loads of people or whatever else. What we do know is that "Hollow" bangs - frazzled bass zips about under big jungle breaks, with sci-fi pads bringing a sense of futurism to this bassbin bothering banger. "Tings In Boots" hits just as hard with raved up, strobe lit chords and some brilliantly old school sub-bass. Dark, raw, physical, it is pure dancing music of the highest order.
Review: Fresh in the chem trails of his Bandulu release, the inimitable Bengal Sound crash lands back into our psyches with his disarming, not-of-this-world take on 140 music. "Young Skeleton" arrives just in time for Halloween, scaring the dickens out of us with its warped humanised tones, dusty atmospheres and distant chimes. "Coroners" takes us from the graveyard to the morgue... But with these hazy arpeggiated trinkles and eerie shimmers are we stepping towards the light or simply waking up? That's for you to work out.
Review: Emotional Rescue turn their attention to Rare Silk and their sublime cult classic "Storm". It's one of those rare tracks with a wonderful otherworldly quality that manages to be smooth and accessible, and somehow not like anything you've ever heard before. It must be somewhere in the mix, between the dreamy harmonized vocals, lush instrumentation and curious sense of space. The original on the A side is a treat enough, but then throw in a mercurial dubbed out version by Arp on the flip and you've got yourself a 12 inch portal to a most delightful dimension.
Review: It's the release that recently moved Skream to tweet he'll make 140 music again, Rarefied dig deep back over the vaults for their first remix release. First up is the Skream co-signed remix of T. A. R.'s "Amplivagant" in which Navy Cut captain J.Sparrow flips the bassline into a steamroller of a mix where the groove has a technoid mind of its own and the demolished results speak for themselves. Flip for Crypticz twist on Primer's "Signals". Switching out the skittering two-steps for ghostly amen echoes while keeping the tone and vibe just as eerie and haunted, it's another remarkable remix. Absolute solid gold.
Review: Fresh from delving into his ambient side on the pastorally-enhanced "Loom Dream" album for Whities, Leif revives his self-manned Tio Series with another double-shot of delicate but impactful cuts outside the conventional slipstream of modern techno. The rhythms fall crooked, the synths trickle, bubble and cascade around the groove and the atmosphere remains humid and heady, especially on ear-snagging B-side "Rumex". "Montpelier" sports more explicit dubby flourishes and a spread of sonic flora and fauna in the middle distance that truly brings the track to life.
Review: Transhumanism is a collective of Dutch producers who first met on the dance-floor at Dave Clarke's Whip It party at Melkweg in Amsterdam, so that will give you a reliable indicator of their sound: it's brash, serrated electro that fires your synapses and awakens your every sense. Juan Atkins and Helena Hauff have been dropping it all summer and it's easy to see why. There is strobe lit action from Slaves Of Sinus, walls of high intensity sound from RXmode, rave tinged stuff from W1b0 and a more throwback jam from TFHats to round out a high impact EP.
Review: Seleccion Natural is Oscar Mulero, Exium and Reeko, a techno dream team who have a new album on the way this autumn. Before that they offer up two tracks from it on a tidy 10" that brims with modular synthesisers, samplers and drum machines. "Split Didactics" will rewire your brain with squeaking lines and cantering kicks making for a real techno riot, and "A New Description Of Hell" layers up hammering kicks with howling synths into a rigid and unrelenting groove. Making this extra special is artwork by none other than Silent Servant.
Review: "Call Of The Righteous" is the latest in an ongoing series of releases by Indica Dubs and Chazbo. Once again it is a 10" that boasts the perfectly interwoven drums, chords and bass of Indica, with the chest pumping, uplifting and warrior style synth leads of Chazbo. The bass rolls deep, the tops are crispy as bacon and the frequencies can be felt in your chest while hits ricochet about to enveloping effect. The low riding swagger and infinite horizons of "Raw (Dub Mix)" has to be the pick of the bunch for us.
I Have Been Waiting For You (DJ Duckcomb Digimix) (7:19)
Review: Emotional Rescue serve up a balmy curveball cut perfect for the summer months. Glen Ricks "I've Been Waiting For You" was originally released back in 1983 on the highly collectible Seraff label and recently reissued by the label (ERC081). Here, as an accompanying release to that boogie version is a 1990 digital rework for the Xterminator label. With a distinctive swung riddim and smoothly incorporated dubbed out chords, Ricks' vocal channels the most soulful Jamaican deliveries, sealing the deal on this evergreen jam that sounds great in original and version forms. DJ Duckcomb steps up with a tender "Digimix" that retains the dusty crunch of the original with just a little extra bite in the beats.
Review: AKO welcome long-timer Madcap. Oxford-based and on the scene for a good 20 years, he's been slowly building up a powerful arsenal on the likes of Good Looking, Soul Deep, Fokuz and many more for the last 10+ years. With the backing of Stretch, on his fast-developing 10" label AKO 10, this is one of the biggest moves yet. "Out Of Reach" is big and breezy deep jungle, loaded with space for the pianos to smoulder and the echoed vocals to waft majestically in and out of the mix. Flip for "Sunshine Dub" where you'll feel you've heard it all before... In the best possible way. Don't sleep on this one, it's a cheeky one.
Review: Don't fear this Reaper... Reaper Recordings is a mysterious brand new label with little information besides their dedication to the jungle craft. If this launch release from Ghosty (AKA Hungry Ghost) is anything to go by, they're not mucking around. "Dead Already" is a powerful subby slammer with eerie top lines and drums that could pierce concrete while "Forward" takes more of a sassy soul approach on the musicality but still drops deep into gully science when it needs to.
Review: New to Claremont but certainly not new to composing; Denis Leonvich has been writing for screen for over a decade and has amassed an impressive collection of heavier floor friendly cuts on the likes of National Techno. If these two rather warm and woozy Balearic debuts are anything to go by, his future cosmic output will be just as impressive; "Sunset Sparks" sways with a balmy mysticism with folk singing, an alluring hang drum and hazy pads while "Boma" takes a slightly darker route with psych sinewy arpeggios and a subtle but unforgettable brassy bass texture and sleazy guitar plucks. We look forward to Alterleo's next adventures...
Review: One of the most consistent harbingers of the broken beat this year, Nomine Sound introduce a brand new project from Asif Kid and Slimzee in the form of E3 Breaks. Exploring the murky 140 waters between breaks, garage, dubstep and jungle, both cuts gel a whole host of soundsystem genres together with their caustic, barbed wire beats; "The Curse" is a moody halftime grumbler with roots in dub but its heart in jungle while "Backroads" is a rampant roller that's not dissimilar to the early Botchit releases around 20 years ago. Sparse, sci fi and slippery.
Review: It's been a long time between drinks for Present Sense, a Finnish combo helmed by experienced jazz bassist Jarno Lappalainen. Research confirms that the previous Pressent Sense single landed way back in 2004. For this return to the studio, American jazz vocalist Dean Bowman has joined in the fun. His Gregory Porter style vocals seemingly soar above the band's lilting, emotion-rich jazz on A-side "In The Present", with each musician getting solo space in the track's magical final moments. Turn to the B-side for "The Time", a more up-tempo jazz workout full of alternating horn solos and superb double bass playing by Lappalainen.
Review: Having dazzled disco lovers via a trio of sold-out 10" singles, the shadowy VEDIT crew delivers their first hand-stamped 12". This time round, the publicity-shy scalpel collective is focused more on left-of-centre synth-pop cuts from the new wave era. Our pick is undoubtedly the epic flipside revision, which takes a particularly wayward and intoxicating mid-'80s cut - think early Chicago house bass, discordant synth horns, experimental dub effects and half-spoken vocals - and turns it into something of an inspired beast. In contrast the two A-side cuts tamper with two slightly better known (though still relatively overlooked) left-of-centre synth-pop gems from 1984 and '85 respectively. They will no doubt get more rotations, but lack the insane thrills of the B-side edit.
Review: You could say that Kodiak Bachine is Brazil's greatest ever Brazilian electronic producer. That would not be an overstatement, it's just a simple fact. It was 1982 when he first released this EP, and it's been a classic, and a favourite of ours, ever since. In fact, "Electricidade" is so powerful because it sounds like it could have been made today; its tenebrous synths filling the airwaves from every angle, giving the track a strange sensation of lust and wonder. The flip, "Espirito Das Maquinas", is another enchanting ride through broken electric cables and abandoned power plants, a place where Bachine clearly thrives and surpasses all expectations. Highly recommend reissue!
Review: Detroit/Houston based Kolour have had some pretty credible names feature on their new 10 inch series this year, such as Eddic C, Napoleon, Frank Booker and Lady Blacktronika. Now it is over to the Belarus based disco DJ Funkyjaws who serves up two irresistible jams on Vol 8 of the series. On the A side, we have the soulful and life affirming African boogie of "Them & Us". We have not heard the original but it sounds pretty seamless to us: a respectful edit indeed. On the flip, we have one seriously mad boogie-down jam in the form of "Peasant Dance" which is a truly exotic affair from god knows where! Accordions, wah-wah guitar and some super string arrangements clash wonderfully. This may sound like an unholy mixture but this is exactly the kind of disco deviance that truly floats our boat! The Grodno based producer last appeared for the label on Kolour LTD 22 a couple of years back, and in the meantime has also appeared for the likes of Shadeleaf Music and Austrian imprint Pusic.
Review: The meandering and eccentric press release sent out to promote this release describes newcomer Serious A as: "a charming Parisian astronaut with a charming signature sound". It's a fitting description on a number of counts. Although rooted in smouldering late night deep house of the kind that French producers do so well, many of the electronic sounds and percussion elements showcased across the EP are more readily associated with original Detroit techno. We're particularly enjoying the yearning, early morning shuffle of "Dune 2" and gentle bleep techno influences of the chunkier "Aftermath", though jazzy and bumpy closer "A Festa" is also inspired.
Review: Naturally, there's been plenty of hype surrounding this new Hyperdub 10", which features Burial indulging his often-discussed ambient influences. It's a typically creepy and ghostly affair, with the lack of beats - if not rhythmic elements - only serving to amplify the shadowy producer's impeccable sound design and brilliant use of manipulated field recordings. A-side "Subtemple" is particularly paranoid in tone, featuring as it does chilling melody loops, curious vocal samples, looped vinyl crackle and all manner of layered background noise. Flipside "Beachfires" is, if anything, even more dystopian, with Burial basing the action around the kind of pulsing chords that gust back and forth like an autumnal breeze.
Review: The ZX gunman returns! Here we find him filling in his signature space with vivid colours; Oriental scales cascade mesmerizingly across a series of synth textures, melodies and counter melodies while a stern bass hums with heavy voltage beneath. Kickless but kicking, it's another singular shot from the London shooter.
Review: Bristol's finest Jules Smith aka October is back with more reduced EBM mutations following up the dusty and rusted experiments ts as heard on his great Death Drums cassette on No Corner just last year, not to mention 2015's wicked Black Body Radiation. It's the second edition of his new eponymous imprint here. On the A side we have "Repentant (version)" a grotty acid slow burner that squeals away menacingly above the seething dirt of vintage drum computers. On the flip "Judgement Dub" goes for an early Chicago vibe somewhere between Jamie Principle and K. Alexi with its haunting pads and funk bass supported by spitfire rhythm patterns and morose atmosphere that's geared for the early morning hours of a sweaty Berlin basement party.
Review: Absolute damage: Spooky finally unleashes two of his biggest summer dubs. And he's doing it in pure pink vinyl style. Fiesta slaps with a well-known sample before hopping onto the gulliest skank of his life. The groove says party, but the bass says murderation. Flip for an even fruitier piece of funk as Eric Donaldson's reggae classic gets the murking it never knew it needed. Make no mistakes: Spooky is donning it right now.
Review: Deep grime instrumentals; few labels are doing it like Oil Gang. The clue's in the title - the tight-knit London crew are dealing strictly in sinister, seeping, dark, slick sounds. This one's even darker than usual as Spooky drops the aggro and goes straight in with the deep dagger dynamics. All stealth-like and creepy, "Low Rider" isn't a track you want on your headphones walking home through the wrong postcode at night. Boylan ups the energy with a stampier twist the rhythm and a dramatic riff croaking from the humanized bass tones. Badness.
Review: This is Adam Wickens' - aka ADMIN - first appearance for Kolour LTD, and we're happy to see the UK deep house producer continuing his steady path to maturity. This two-tracker is part of the label's 'LTD 10s' series, and this particular one is the fourth instalment; we love it not only for the quality that has graced the releases up till now, but also because we're fools for the ten inch format. "Reach For Love" sounds like it could be on Moodymann's Mahogani, a sensual house charmer complete with gorgeous piano keys and assembled with pure hypnotic delight. Side B's "You've Got Me" is similarly cool and laid-back, but the beat is speedier here, the percussion more floor-centric and the vocals sexier than ever. What a gorgeous little tip - cop it!
Review: There's a truly unique story behind this latest discovery from DJ Amir. Another great find from his Strata master tapes licence acquisition, TJ was written on the label of an undated, unmarked demo reel. No other information besides the beautifully raw soul on tape. Literally nothing is known about who TJ was (or were). Similarities with Shuggie Otis or perhaps Darondo are strong as the stripped back lightly treated guitars and his hazy, yearning vocal technique come on strong throughout. From the full bodied soul funk of "Love Flower" to the looped faraway harmonies and simple guitar backbone of "Time Is Wasting", the music is as strong the mystery itself. Beautiful.
Review: Resurfacing Sun Ra treasures from the 1950s have become increasingly prominent and, by now, his younger fans can truly explore this legend's never-ending catalogue in its original vinyl format. Modern Harmonic are the ones responsible here, and reissuing "The Lady With The Golden Stockings is a great move on their part because it's one Ra monster that we'd been missing from our catalogue; the percussion, the sax and the general feeling of potential deconstruction at any given point make this a truly stupendous affair. "Spontaneous Simplicity" is calmer, more psychedelic and, if we're not mistaken, there's a very early drum machine rambling on in the lower end of the mix, while "Love In Outer Space" finishes this off with Ra's own voice backed by a more traditional sway from the famous Arkestra.
Review: Woof! Hyperdub bring together two of the most recognisable and enigmatic artists of recent times on this 10", as Zomby and Burial square down ahead of the former's new album for the label. Zomby's Ultra LP is undoubtedly one of this year's most anticipated albums and "Sweetz" suggests it may be a very moody affair indeed. Whilst rooted in UK dance, Zomby and Burial do look elsewhere for inspiration too. Just under seven minutes long, "Sweetz" veers through various sub-heavy soundscapes with intermittent rhythmic patters and a distinctive looped vocal sample whose pitch changes with dramatic effect.
What's Going On (original mono single version) (3:57)
God Is Love (original mono single version) (2:48)
What's Going On (feat BJ The Chicago Kid) (5:03)
What's Going On (Coffeehouse Mix) (3:59)
Review: One of the most important and influential records in both Marvin and Motown's history, "What's Going On" celebrates 45 years with a revisit that includes some of the oldest mono versions of "What's Going On" and "God Is Love" and brand new twists including a superbly mixed posthumous duet with BJ The Chicago Kid which truly feels like they're in the same room together and an Elevado-mixed acoustic Coffeehouse mix where Marvin's vocals and sentiments are given even more muscle due to their forefront position.
Review: Although most house and techno heads know him under a variety of different pseudonyms, Anthony Nicholson has been releasing smoking tunes since the 1990's for labels such as the mighty Prescription, on which he used to call himself African Blues. He's back in 2015 under his birth name, and he's landed on the lovely DeepartSounds, a home to artists such as Dubbyman, Giorgio Luceri, and the one like Ron Trent! On the A-side, "Optimum" fills your soul with a soothing array of gentle house swings, powered by sublime vocals and mid piano keys; the flipside is "Destination", and it's a funkier sort of tune, one that is a little less deep and little more disco. Beautiful house music for those looking for meditative gear.
Review: A faceless producer, rumoured to be from Scotland and getting his 'revenge', appears here for the seventh release on Razor-N-Tape Reserve after great sessions by Caserta, Dirtytwo and Pools. On "Backchat" it's a looped up, boogie down affair complete with synth sax and pan pipes which support an obscure Steve Winwood sample. Absolutely electric and you're sure to get some hands in the air moments with this one. On the flip is a dub version that forgoes all the bells and whistles and works a razor sharp (mind the pun) arpeggio instead, for a more serious and late night version.
Review: A limited yellow vinyl funk odyssey from Record Store Day, "I Get Lifted" is taken from KC & The Sunshine Band's second album (1975) Still sounding shiny and floor-minded, the original stands the test of time incredibly well. Todd Terje's edit, however, takes it to another level; upping the tempo (and, possibly, the key), he's extended the right places, added a little more emphasis on the kicks and made sure we can't miss the breakdowns and instrumental sections.
Review: Speak to anyone who lived through them about the glory days of IDM and German producer Arovane (aka Uwe Zahn) is probably one of the first names they will happily reel off. Between the late '90s and his apparent retirement in 2004, Zahn was responsible for birthing a clutch of classic IDM longplayers like Tides and Lillies, the 2004 LP for City Centre Offices that seemed to signal his withdrawl from music. However, the production bug bit him again in 2013 and there has been a steady stream of Arovane output leading up to this Aarlenpeers EP. Issued on the Touchin' Bass label operated by self professed Arovan fan Andrea Parker, these two cuts bristle and pulse with abstracted electronic life in a manner one expects from Zahn. "Il_Eth" is quite epic.
Review: Ali Wells's Perc Trax has done incredibly well over the years, and in fact, this latest EP (the third in the series) marks the label's ten year anniversary! Patrick Sottrop aka Kareem drops "Just When You Thought It Was Over" on the A-side, unleashing a militant and subtly dubbed-out warhead for the peak time hours, while Wells himself touches down as Perc with the stormy, wide-eyed sound sculpture that is "Volley". Surprisingly, the kick drum - a menacing pound to the head - only pops up well into the track, leaving space for all other sorts of atmospherics and distortion to surface. Excellent, as per usual.
Review: Firecracker Recordings' Unthank label has been a decidedly intermittent concern since it's eye catching arrival back in 2010 with the Parris Mitchell mangling antics of Berlin dwelling Estonian producer Bakey USTL. It makes for somewhat poetic reading that the label's sixth release should usher in the return of a producer whose last apparent production credit was a contribution to the Fudge Fingas cut "Fidgety Friends" way back in 2007! Quite what the West Yorkshire based Denaji has been doing in the subsequent years is not clear, but your focus should be on his contributions here, with the Wuhti 10" quite sublime. The title track and "Dharma Dharma" are the sort of star gazing boogie and fizzing deep house that fit snugly into the overarching Firecracker sonic canon and do check the wondrous remix of "Wuhti" from Norwegian Sex Tags mastermind DJ Sotofett.
Review: Destination mid 70s Nairobi where Madagascan guitarist Jimmy Mawi was laying down some serious vibes... Signed to EMI's Pathe imprint, he released three singles during his career which have all since faded to obscurity. Until now. Dusty, garagey and steaming with raw blues fusion, it's hard to deny any parallels to Hendrix as Mawi expresses himself with a rough heartfelt frenzy. Highlights include the Zep-level smoked out soul of "Blue Star Blues" and the insistent drive and reverbed out faraway vocals on "Black Dialogue". Another exemplary Afro-funk find from Soundway.
Review: Dropping a searing double pack of 10" badness ahead of the forthcoming Angels & Devils album, The Bug is back in business with some apocalyptic gutter bass of the highest order. "Freakshow" matches the leering delivery of Danny Brown with the sinister croon of King Midas Sound's Kiki Hitomi over a horn-laden trap swagger to devastating effect. "Louder" pits Flowdan in the depths of a nauseating half-step march, while "Dirty" takes the London MC into a barrage of equally nerve-jangling drum rattles and alarm-clanging stabs. Long-time Bug collaborator Daddy Freddy rolls up his sleeves for "Kill Them", anchoring the dread stomp with a fearsome growl as anthemic as it is nihilistic.
Review: With two releases already under their belt, the quintessential anonymous producer Crue is back with another exercise in dynamic analogue house and techno. "Track 1" is a steady 90s house workout, rich with warm chord stabs and a punchy beat, primed for slotting in amongst other garage shuffle revivalists. "Track 2" is where things get spicy with the primal, Detroit-weighted clatter of the drums falling in an almost-breakbeat, and the melodic stabs zipping in overhead. It's a staggeringly fresh sounding track, even whilst using methods of the past. Whoever they might be, Crue is clearly in command of some serious kit and a keen ear for what works,
Review: Sect's third and final sampler for the It's All For You compilation ends on a bittersweet note, seeing the last release from Sect favourite Grovskopa, who has decided to retire following the closest of near death experiences. The A-Side features Lag's remix of his Sect classic "Atopic", reworking the lurching bass and broken-beat rhythms of the original into a hypnotic number with a fractured synth melody. The B-Side sees "2:69", a brittle yet powerful track with churning bass which recalls Drexciya's classically hard edged approach, combined with hazy orchestral sweeps - a fitting swansong for a great producer.
Review: Swedish travelling minstrel, Rickard Jäverling, returns to lavish upon us further moments of heartfelt, folk-inspired beauty. Spinning Scandinavian wordless folk-songs seems like second nature for Jäverling, and these tracks show quite perfectly his unique skills. Beginning with 'Three Sisters' (which also featured on his recent 'Two Times Five Lullaby' album) we're off to an explosive start; a 21st century hoedown with eyes fixed on frozen Northern European fields rather than rickety Pennsylvanian barns. With banjo, drums and guitar, Jäverling and his band manage to distil a Tortoise-inspired post-rock intelligence and blend it with the traditional folk sounds that seem to have made their way into the mainstream once more. Side A is rounded off with the shimmering and beautiful 'Västbacken', a hazy instrumental piece of folk poetry bringing to mind bubbling streams and the beauty of a childish midsummer adventure. The EP's defining moment however comes on the flipside with the 7 minute epic 'Sultan'. It's hard to imagine a track more life affirming than this, which takes the Chicago post-rock formula and re-contextualises it for 2006, giving us something both reflective and quietly jubilant. Finishing off the disc are fellow Yesternow artists, Shoreline, who have ushered Jäverling into their ever-growing family and contributed a 'remix' which takes the original track and injects it with a sense of fun and playful abandon. 'The Three Sisters EP' adds yet further weight to the growing Yesternow catalogue, and is more proof of the subtle and measured talents of Rickard Jäverling.