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: 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".
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: 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: Brooklyn label Razor-N-Tape get in on the Record Store Day action with this 10" edition of Beatin Tha Breaks from Nashville-based Magic In Threes. It's the remixes that come first, with Dutch artist Fouk going into similar house territory to Kenny Dope with plenty of live instrumental touches blessing the bristling percussion. It's a totally different vibe on the Freddie Joachem remix, with the Californian opting for some midtempo funk breaks that stay closer to the sound of Magic In Threes' original version . This closes out the RSD release on the B-side and is an easy-breezy affair dripping with soulful guitars and harmonies.
Review: Moscow's Arsenii is up next on New York City edits imprint Razor N Tape. Following up the great Allegria on Basic Fingers last year, he's back with some more obscure oddities spliced to perfection once again. He takes the razor to "Son of the Sun," which the label themselves describe as "the Shaft-in-outer-space drama" (and we agree completely) to the 'proto-balearic lilt' of "Jungle Melody" by Pierre Dalmon and of course the big band funk of "Fool Like A Child"; more commonly known to some as Christian Gaubert's "Sweet And Fool Like A Child" from 1979.
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: Berlin-based DJ and producer Denise Rabe has become something of a cult heroine since her first releases in 2015. The years since have found her operate in her own parallel techno world, where psychoactive sounds and heavy drones permeate your ears, then your brain, then your whole being. Now she steps away from her own Rabe label for a debut on Stroboscopic Artefacts, which finds her take charge of the Totem series. Opener "Manifesto" is a driving techno groover with ghoulish synth designs and keys from the 5th dimension, then "Don't Leave" will utterly trip you out with its panning pads and mysterious leads. "Clouds" completes the journey with doom laden and wide spread kick drums that lurch over and over through some ruined post-human world. Tip!
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: Fernando Zapico AKA Z@p is one of those producers whose work is always worth a listen, primarily because his quality threshold is very high. This two-track missive on My Own Jupiter picks up where his recent EP for Japanese imprint Cabaret left off, delivering faintly foreboding futurist techno whose sci-fi inspirations are clear to hear. A-side "Brutalismo" sets the tone, with paranoia-inducing analogue bass, creepy synth stabs and swirling electronic textures rising above a punchy drum machine-driven groove. "We Control The Sound" is notably denser and a little darker, with sturdier beats, moodier chord sequences and a bone-chilling breakdown.
Review: Vibez almighty! Another skank-packed doublet from Dutch soundsystem crew. This time Gunmen and Mystic Pulse are at the controls... The former gets his digidub dancehall vibe on with rapid-fire MC toasting and booty-busting halftime switches ("Greetings") while the latter carves out a soulful sun-kissed shaker that skanks so sweetly it could make Aries blush. Highly limited... Don't sleep.
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: 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: 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: 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: Maya's "Lait De Coco", a deliciously glassy-eyed chunk of mid-'80s Gallic pop with a decidedly Balearic bent, has recently undergone something of a revival is serious selector circles. Since copies of original 1987 7" copies have been known to change hands for eye-watering sums online, Attic Salt Discs has done the decent thing and offered up this tasty 10" reissue. Particularly alluring is the flipside Dub, which in true '80s instrumental style flits between spine-tingling ambient passages, delay-laden vocal selections, twinkling piano motifs and an even more glassy-eyed take on the warm and loved-up backing track. That said, the sax-laden A-side vocal version, the epitome of soft-focus European synth-pop goodness from the period, is also superb.
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: After succes releases on labels such as Tsuba, Slow Down, Sleazy Beats, Rose Records, and much more, German Luvless is ready with a strong release on Danish label Deso Records - You should is a strong Deep House track, with a beautiful hookline, that will make troubles everywhere is will be played. On the remix, we got the Mannequins back on Deso - this remix is supported by Jimpster to name one, Deep House when it is best. Limited solid white vinyl.
This EP is supported by names like: Mike W (Kolour Recordings) Lo Shea (Phonica) Nacjtbraker (Dirt Crew) Jimpster (Freerange) Onsulada (Yoruba) and much more! Get your deep head on!
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: 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: 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: "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)."