Review: Having soared us through the dense black marsh earlier this year, Portuguese deepsmith 3WA takes us through even swampier, intense territories with this Crucial debut. "Viagem" is like stepping into a deep boggy cave where the drips from the stalactites get heavier and the ground swallows you like quicksand. "Encanto" then hauls your keister out of there with insistent hang drum percussion and rolling kicks before blowing you dry with powerful flutes and pipes. Charmed.
Review: New label Tell Zero Records hits the ground running with a 10" ambient white label that really impresses. There is some lush, slow motion tribalism on the A side that dives deep into the exotic. On the flip, the second beatless journey features some sombre and evocative Olafur Arnalds style piano playing over some haunting field recordings assembled into a captivating collage.
Review: "Is the Cornuta Sound's return after a long resting time. This new 10" contains one of the most saved songs by Above Smoke (Deep Explorer) that runs into the jazz world and an outro take for djs. The flipside brings a great rework by the label boss (W&P Hgg)."
Review: We're not sure who's behind the mysterious AC-EXP project, but the shadowy figure returns with more of that strange, submerged house music he's been tickling discerning DJs with over the past few years. After taking last year off, "1A" is a fine place to start things up again with a strutting jack track carrying acidic synth pulses that flirt with measured delay processing. It's a jam that sounds steamy and sinister all at once. "1B" maintains this restrained but seductive vibe with the slightly trancey throb of the lead synths pivoting around the snappy drums to great effect.
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!
The Devil Made Me Do It (The Invisible Cosmic Echoes version) (4:51)
The Devil Made Me Do It (The Invisible Astral Wave version) (4:30)
Review: Like many drummers, Alex Puddu has long been inspired by the work of Tony Allen. He pays tribute to the legendary Nigerian sticks-man on "The Devil Made Me Do It", a sumptuous dose of groovy downtempo Afrobeat laden with Allen-style polyrhythms, Africa '70 horns and lashings of eyes-closed electric piano solos. On the flip you'll find two different interpretations from Puddu. The first, subtitled "The Invisible Cosmic", doffs a cap to the Afro-cosmic world of Daniele Baldelli while retaining much of the warmth and musicality of the original mix. "The Invisible Astral" version is an altogether more spaced-out dub, with Puddu smothering the drums and horns in copious amounts of tape echo.
Review: Back in 2016, legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen approached techno pioneer Jeff Mills with the idea of working together. A series of live gigs and off-the-radar studio sessions followed, with the first fruits of their joint efforts finally appearing on this must-have 10". As you'd expect, the duo's collaborative work combines Allen's traditional Nigerian polyrhythms, traditional Afrobeat instrumentation, and the far-sighted, sci-fi inspired electronic futurism that has always marked out Mills' work. The result is a quartet of cuts that could arguably be described as retro-futurist Afro-tech - all delay-laden beats, basslines and organs subtly sparring with gentle acid lines, Motor City electronics, beguiling deep space textures and shimmering, 31st century motifs. It's arguably Allen's stylistic contributions that dominate, but that's no bad thing.
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: Frankfurt record shop Gosu are back with the next instalment of their in-house label by OFFM regular Rob Amboule. The British producer has been making records for some years now, on labels like 20:20 Vision, Heidi's The Jackathon and more recently OSMAN and NorthSouth, initially starting out in London. A chance encounter led him to Frankfurt and after a short while he decided to relocate out to the Main area. A long-time friend of the label as well as Freebase (RIP), his skills developed with the encouragement of label bosses Manuel Schatz and Phil Evans. Amboule presents Gosu 9.5: on the A side we've got the funky and chunky all analogue electro futurism of "9.5 B", while on the flip things go in a more straight ahead direction on the classic techno excursion of "9.5 D" - taking the very best elements of Detroit and Yorkshire in its stride.
Review: For the latest single on Umwelt's essential Rave or Die label, the Lyon-based producer finds himself sharing vinyl space with Perc Trax regular Ansome. The South London producer handles side A, assaulting the senses via distorted breakbeats, chilling, held-note horror strings and gory electronic riffs on the industrial techno insanity of "Vakuum". Umwelt's track, "Affres", explores similar sonic territory, though his use of macabre audio loops, redlined electronics and rapid-fire, ray gun drumbeats gives the track a much more rolling and hypnotic feel. Both cuts are wild-eyed and aggressive in tone, even if they are every bit as sci-fi as classic Detroit cuts.
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: 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: Tucked away in his Peak District hideaway, Jack Lever has been laying down sumptuous fusions of dusty ambience and lo-fi electronica for some time now. He first rose to prominence via a fine 12" on Apollo in 2013, before heading back to Derbyshire to self-release music from the archives on cassette and download. This return to wax is well worth a listen, if only for the drowsy, 6AM ambience of "Convair", which wraps shortwave radio crackle and yearning chord progressions around gentle acoustic guitars. "Torches" is a blissful and dusty outsider house shuffler, while lead cut "Roads" is a terrific, dancefloor-tempo trip-hop head-nodder rich in distorted guitars, cascading instrument solos and beefy dub disco bass.
Review: A special release from Minimal Wave here as the uber rare Irene & Mavis EP from UK synth poppers Blancmange is granted a reissue! Those with a pub quiz winning level of knowledge of UK synth pop will no doubt be familiar with the 80s hits of Blancmange duo Neil Arthur & Stephen Luscombe, yet this debut EP dating back to 1980 will still sound revelatory. The self released Irene & Mavis EP marked Arthur and Luscombe to be fully willing to experiment with DIY electronics, impressing Mute founder Daniel Miller sufficiently to proclaim them "maiden aunts of electronic music," and thus more than suited as a subject of focus from the Minimal Wave label. There are definite similarities between this nascent stage of Blancmange and the output of Cabaret Voltaire from the same era, particularly in the masked and disembodied nature of the vocals, whilst "Holiday Camp" and "Just Another Spectre" are wonderful examples of instrumental synth music. Despite originally being released in 7" format, the six newly remastered tracks are presented here in 10" format by Minimal Wave with the distinctive artwork retained!
Review: Bruno E has plenty of history in the field of future jazz and downtempo, and now he's been snapped up by D3 to deliver some of that cold-chilling lounge business with some interesting remixers on board. Pat Van Dyke is up first, creating a blissful version of "Ventos De Outono" that feels as cosy as a warm fire and a glass of whisky on an autumn evening. The original version of the track is actually a peppier affair with a broken beat lilt that wouldn't sound out of place alongside the Dego and Kaidi Tatham crew. Kirk Degiorgio is a natural fit for another remix given his jazzy roots, and his swirling techno treatment is the perfection lotion to pour over Bruno E's excellent original ingredients.
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: 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: Russian enfant terrible Pavel Milyakov aka Buttechno appears next on Gost Zvuk: an imprint dedicated exclusively to the Russian and ex-USSR scene and only releasing music of producers from these regions. The label's seventh release (known elsewhere as 'Swamp Tracks') showcases the diverse array of Milyakov's sonic repertoire, that has seen his release on labels as diverse as Cititrax, Incienso and Zodiac 44. The fierce sonar transmission of "Project Loop 1" or "Subsonic II" will no doubt bear comparisons to Berlin legend Sleeparchive, but still hold their own. Milyakov is really in his element when delving deep into electro mutations as heard on "Industrial Acid" or the tripped-out minimal techno cut (and our favorite) "2x Clouds".
Review: Chevals, who brilliantly describes himself as a "French house producer, disco cutter and horse", came to our attention last year via a fine debut on Better Listen. You'll find further proof of his "rising star" status on this tasty, two-track contribution to Kolour LTD's 10-inch series. Both tracks are essentially re-edits, though there are enough additional touches and new musical elements to elevate them way beyond your average scalpel re-arrangement. The Frenchman kicks thing off with "I Can Prove It", a gently tooled-up and reworked version of a soaring, glassy-eyed disco-soul gem that will sound fantastic at this summer's open-air events. Flipside "Free Love" is an altogether more low-slung affair, with a fizzing, funk-fuelled groove building towards a rush-inducing Philadelphia Soul-goes-disco-house conclusion.
Review: This tasty 10" from Ukrainian label Muscut features skilled musicians Ganna Brizhata, Polina Matskevich and Ira Lupu. Together as Chillera, they make for an EP that is influenced by everything from psyche to soft rock, dub to funk. Each track brims with live and authentic musicianship that makes them that bit more essential: "Koblevska AR" is all twinkling keys and star-gazing chords while "Pro Fun" is a more propulsive bit of funky dub with knotted bass guitar and splashing cymbals. "Spielc" closes things down in romantic fashion with plenty of bendy pitches and wah-wah effects.
Review: The second collectible EP out of three, arriving on double white 10" vinyl, and containing tracks from Jon Convex's debut album, Idoru sees another four hard hitting fusions of techno and contemporary bass music. Unlike the first EP, which was surprisingly melodic, these tracks aim squarely at the floor, with "What I Need" a heavy tom-led piece of Detroit influenced techno, and "Aversion" providing some tracky functionalism. "Desolation" and "Four Faces" meanwhile provide some bleak electro dystopianism, much indebted to his Autonomic heritage.
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,
Dan Piu & Venus News Network - "Once A While Transforming Into Unity"
Freddy Fresh - "Take Your Time"
QWERTY - "26xm" (Canal Time Shift mix)
Brad P - "Theory Test Level 3"
Darren Nye - "Alienated"
Reedale Rise - "Capricious"
Cygnus - "Vega"
Ewan Jansen - "Space Bar"
Review: While the Childhood Intelligence label has previous form when it comes to offering up multi-artist EPs, little they've released to date is quite as epic, expansive and eclectic as this compilation style double-pack. There's sadly not room to list all of the highlights and subtle variations on offer - it's pretty much fire from start to finish - but our current favourites include the acid-flecked sci-fi techno of Brad P's "Theory Test Level 3", the sparse, bass-heavy shuffle of Dei Sub's "Through Flow", the dreamy but out there ambient dub flex of QWERTY's "26xm (Canal Time Shift Mix)", the 21st century clonk revivalism of Reedale Rise's ace "Capricious" and the glistening analogue electro-meets-Chicago jack pulse of Cygnus' "Vega".
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: America's Bruce Ditmas has always relied on the outer fringes of the jazz scene, even before he began to experiment with abstract electronics. The man is a classically trained drummer who has made the switch to pastures more left of field, and that's how he's landed on the sorts of sounds emanating from the present Visioni Sconvolgenti. Out through Dead-Cert, this is one of the most intriguing slices of experimentation that we've heard the year, and it blows a lot of the current generation's work out the water. The label has always been a source of quality gear, but this might just be one of the best things they've put out. For fans of Hanson, Dilloway and Turman.
Review: Church's latest release - a rather tasty, two-track ten-inch single - comes courtesy of South London sorts DJ Malcolm and Dabriel Garius. A-side "Lulo", a jazzy deep house cut smothered in expansive piano solos, dreamy synth chords and sampled female vocals, is particularly potent, with the duo expertly layering up the percussion to give the track a sun-kissed, carnival-friendly feel. Flipside "Guava" displays a similar jazz influence, with the duo trading electric piano and trumpet solos over elastic synth bass and swinging, semi-broken deep house grooves. It's what we imagine a contemporary collaboration between Phil Asher and 2000Black boys Dego and Kaidi Tatham would sound like, which is high praise indeed.
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: 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: Prolific producer Arno Volker AKA Einzelkind returns with his first outing of 2019, this time in cahoots with regular studio buddy and Point of View label founder Giuliano Lomonte. Between them, the experienced pair has conjured up a couple of exceptionally strong peak-time workouts. We're particularly enjoying A side "Civil Stretch", a bounding and melodically attractive affair where bubbly electronic motifs, alien chords and jaunty stabs rise above a rubbery, hip-swinging house groove. Flipside "This N That" continues in a similar hybrid tech-house/deep house vein, with the duo bolting woozy chords and eccentric vocal samples onto bustling drums and a thickset electronic bassline.
Review: Ekkohaus is no stranger to the house scene!! You can hear his intelligent, funktifying rhythms and grooves on imprints like Morris Audio, 2020 Vision, Circus Company, Flumo, Eklo, Mule Electronique, Brut, Moon Harbour, Holic Trax, Claap, Gruuv, Hudd Traxx, Diaphan Music and now MixxRecords!! We welcome the Greek native with open arms...
This special 10" purple colored vinyl is most appropriate as for the entitled "A" side is called "Purple Divine" and divine it is!! Playful percussion and drum-work along with a simplistic, melodic bass groove keeps you in hypnosis just longing for more!
You'll find a more jacked-up and jazzed up pump on the "B" side with "Ordinary People". DEFINITELY a house banger!!
Review: It's been five years since Truth & Soul's octet gave us the incredible Wu Tang version album. It's been two years since they last dropped a single, too. However the band is back and their trademark cinematic soul is richer and more emotive than ever. From the instant the trembling flute and guitar open with the cuddly, ultimately positive "Kiddy Ditty" we're whisked on a largely instrumental journey that flings us through the wild west ("Little House"), soul's early JB chapters ("This Song For You") and straight up NY low-slung funk ("A Little Sloppy"). Climaxing with a Lee Fields featured "By The Time I Get To Phoenix", Loose Change is a kind reminder of just how accomplished and creative El Michels Affair are. No change there, then.
Review: 2013's Das Heise Experiment album was one of Robert Witschakwoski's wilder efforts under the storied Exaltics alias. This belated second volume is perhaps not quite as intense - there are less acid-fired workouts, for starters - but it is just as impressively mind-altering in tone. Although rooted in machine electro, the 12 obliquely-titled tracks draw on a myriad of influences, resulting in a largely dark, moody and clandestine mixture of dark and paranoid ambience, panicked IDM, punchy, Drexciya-style missives, end-of-days mid-tempo techno and fuzzy, L.I.E.S/Vatican Shadow style lo-fi murk. As you'd expect, the whole thing hangs together brilliantly, sounding not unlike the soundtrack to an imaginary sci-fi horror set on a haunted spaceship.
Review: Laurene Exposito is back on Amsterdam's Knekelhuis with a follow up to her well received debut album. This new record is said to be very personal - life changes and her love life are said to be central themes. All tracks have been recorded at Exposito's home in the Rennes, France using all analogue equipment. Starting out with the seductive coldwave tribute "Yellow Density" which features some inventive synth action that reaches near acid moments over her deadpan vocals. On the flip, title track "Cocktail Mexico" goes for some Dopplereffekt style electro shenanigans and "Go Forward" conjuring up comparisons to early Tropic Of Cancer on this hazy lo-fi goth journey.
Review: Running Back Incantations was created as a series of non-dancefloor releases and its fifth edition came from Austrian producer Daniel Meuzard aka Feater earlier this year. The "Socialo Bianco" LP utilised the EMS Synthi AKS, which he painstakingly recorded entirely by hand and straight on to tape. The track lifted from the LP entitled "Time Million" has already received remixes by legends such as Ricardo Villalobos and Pepe Bradock on the first volume of reworks, followed by current scene heroes Pangaea and Krystal Klear on the second. On this third volume, Jamaican dub/reggae drummer with a Jah given gift for music, Blood Shanti takes over the whole release and serves up four perspectives. Feel the pure elation of the "Main Mix", followed by three jamdown versions: "Dub #2" works those delays and echoes to full effect in true old school style, while "Dub #3" veers into similar sonic territory as legendary dub producer Adrian Sherwood.
Jason Fine - "Puttin It Out" (A Made Up Sound remix)
Jason Fine - "Human Need" (Heinrich Mueller Celestial Sphere mix)
Review: Repress: As one of the younger breed of Detroit talents, Jason Fine is still just starting to get a foothold, despite having a good few years of releases behind him. His Kontra Musik relationship has proven to be the most fruitful, and this remix package capitalises on that with two top shelf commissions. A Made Up Sound brings his unmistakable broken house swing to bear, with warming subs and thick swathes of pad and melody twisted to Dave Huismann's crafty designs. Heinrich Muller brings the Drexciyan vibes in abundance with his punchy electro stance that remains peerless after all these years.
Review: Original Chicago deep house producer Vincent Floyd has enjoyed something of a career renaissance since the release of Moonlight Fantasy, a collection of previously unheard 1990s productions, on Rush Hour in 2014. Here the Dutch label dips into his vaults again and unearths another gem from the late 1990s. "Hard to Love" is every bit as warm, rich and loved-up as you'd expect, with Floyd providing a yearning, soul-fired vocal to accompany his rich Windy City grooves and cascading synthesizer melodies. On the flip you'll find a fabulous instrumental version that closely mirrors the vocal take. That it stands up on its own without the headline vocal is testament to Floyd's impeccable composition and production skills.
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: 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: Sleeper man Alex Fox debuted the GRAMZ alias earlier in the year via a two-track 12" on Sentry Records built around paranoid sonic textures, serious bass-weight and rolling 140 BPM beats. For this 10" outing on Crucial, Fox has taken a deeper approach, ratcheting up the smoky atmosphere while retaining sizeable low-end pressure. "Joken" and flipside "Get Them Bags" are hazy, ultra-deep dubstep workouts, with both doffing a cap towards hip-hop and grime (check out the manipulated MC vocal samples on the latter, in particular), as well as the crackling sonic textures of Burial. "Joken" rolls along nicely while remaining pleasingly subdued, while "Get Them Bags" has a little more sonic strut. Both, though, are excellent.
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: Following a couple of impressive collaborative releases last year, Bristol bass-head Halcyonic returns to action on debutant imprint Firmly Rooted. This time round, veteran roots-man Junior Dread handles mic duties, delivering a smoky vocal on "Can't Hide". The track itself is rolling, bass heavy and heady, with ricocheting electric piano notes and dub-wise horn lines rising above a riddim that sits somewhere between digi-dub and dubstep. On the flipside, Bristol stalwart Rob Smith dons his familiar RSD alias to deliver a dancefloor-focused deep dubstep revision that peppers a weighty groove with dubbed-out horn blasts, disconnected vocal snippets and mind-mangling angular electronic pulses.
Review: Given a choice between raving or dying, almost all of us would grab a whistle, crack open a fresh pot of Vicks and head straight for the nearest warehouse. That's certainly the approach that would be taken by Rave or Die label boss Umwelt, whose releases continue to sound track messy nights out in fields and former factories the world over. His contribution to the label's tenth EP, "Requiem For A Haunted Warehouse", is fittingly titled: its spooky melody lines, unsettling low-end chords and bustling, house-tempo hardcore breakbeats could easily soundtrack an occult gathering of techno Ghostbusters. Fellow French producer I Hate Models takes a slightly different approach on the A-side, wrapping mutilated ice cream van chimes and intense acid lines around a thumping, kick-drum heavy rhythm track.
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.
Review: Italojohnson has clearly decided that less is more, having limited their output to one self-released 12" a year since 2013. Volume 10 in the mysterious threesome's self-titled series predictably contains more twisted, tried-and-tested material. The untitled A-side sounds like a modern update of a breakbeat-boasting Frankie Bones classic, with hectic bursts of percussion, surging sub and a classic riff taking it in turns to impress. There's more of an acid house feel to the similarly untitled flipside workout, with booming, mangled vocal snippets and sharp electronic stabs riding a thunderous groove, '80s electro hits and a classic Chicago bassline. There's little subtle about either track, but they sound like guaranteed floorfillers.
Review: Jabesh and I David combine to great effect here for a selection of dubs that fuse the old with the new. There are classic guitars and drums on title track "Hold A Meditation" but the broad, smeared synth bass adds some contemporary cool that makes it suitable for a range of different settings. The "Dub" version has lush wet claps and mesmeric filter work before a tooting top line on "Rocktone Melody" gets you in a different state of trance. Closer "Rock To The Dub" sees I David show off his mastery of the studio buttons and rounds out a solid 7".
Review: Seven years later... Jay Kay and his band of merry soulmen return with bonafide grooves. Raw, to the point and covering a huge amount of ground, "Automaton" is an electrified hair-raiser that's designed to lift floors while "Nights Out In The Jungle" tickles the backbone from Daptone with its slinky, JB-style bass/drum groove and light rap/spoken word. Pure funk in both its original and most futuristic style... and on limited clear vinyl, too.
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.
Review: Owen Jay & Melchior Sultana's track Contrasts featuring singer Mykle Anthony which was originally released on BBR07 on Kiss The Sun EP receives the remix treatment from the Spanish Brothers, Dubbyman & Above Smoke. Both tracks have the distinct Deep Explorer Sound of real depth and warm grooves. This is the first vinyl from a forthcoming series of 10".
Review: Barefoot Beats is a series of EPs released on Mareh Music, a record label based in Sao Paulo whose people are also the curators of the Mareh music festival in Boipeba - a remote island in Bahia. For their label's ninth edition, Rio de Janeiro's Joutro Mundo (Midnight Riot/Outra) delivers an edit of a lovely neon-lit boogie down number on "Revele", while on the flip the man from New York City Jkriv (Razor-N-Tape) gets a deep, soulful and life-affirming number into the mix with "Povo De Zambi".