Review: When Juno Plus spoke to Emotional Response boss Stuart Leath recently, he talked excitedly about his latest time intensive project - trawling through boxes of old cassette recordings from L.A multi-instrumentalist Eddie "Secret Circuit" Ruscha to compile a follow-up to 2012's brilliant Tropical Psychedelics compilation. Predictably, the resulting collection is nothing short of brilliant. Typically eccentric, melodious, atmospheric and bristling with interesting ideas, Cosmic Vibrations delves deeper into Ruscha's archives and comes up with gold. Highlights are naturally plentiful, but keep an eye out for the psychedelic ambience of "Electric Brain", the analogue electronic explorations of "Nova Laser", and "Shockers", an acid-flecked chunk of chiming Balearic deep house with exotic, Arabic touches.
Review: Planet Mu has long been celebrated as a genuine source of musical surprises, but even by their standards John Wizards, the debut album from the South African/Rwandan duo of the same name, is a bolt from the blue. Gloriously, it is near impossible to pigeonhole (or even accurately describe), offering a kaleidoscopic, near tropical fusion of gorgeous African pop, skewed electronica, traditional African songwriting, bright juju guitars, wonky British indie-pop, tactile R&B and loads more besides. That it not only makes sense but sounds great, too, confirms that these guys are a major talent. Recommended.
Review: Building a formidable reputation as an artist with a diverse set of approaches in the field of electronic music, Ukranian producer Cape Cod delivers his debut album on Kiev House in a fine display of musicianship. From the opening track "Among The Stars" (which features Constantine on vocal) it's clear that this will be more than a straight up collection of dancefloor tracks. There are indeed some upbeat house tracks to be enjoyed, not least on the razor sharp garage bumper "We Don't Have To", but there's also equal space given over to more introspective jams such as "Put U Down".
Review: While Jack Hamill's Space Dimension Controller project is best known for mixing colourful electrofunk synths with intergalactic ambient, techno and hypnotic house influences, his earliest musical output trod a slightly different path. His long forgotten, digital-only debut album, 2009's Unidentified Flying Oscillator, explored IDM and woozy electronica, and it's these styles that come to the fore on Orange Melamine. Like that debut album, this set - his first for Ninja Tune - was recorded in his bedroom, aged 18, with a collection of "cheap, lo-fi" and "battered" kit. It largely takes its' cues from the likes of Boards of Canada and ambient-era Aphex Twin, but retains that distinctive vibe and attention to detail that's always marked out Hamill's work.
Review: It's not hard to admire the sheer bloody-mindedness that drives Tadd Mullinix's label venture, Bopside. In between the recent Charles Manier album and the upcoming JTC long-player - a contender for house album of the year - comes Skein. Produced under his birth name, it's a deeply experimental three-tracker. The title track is a succession of screeches, howls and white noise blasts, while "Hadopelagic Chime" sees the US producer map out a series of soundscapes against a low tempo backdrop. Closing track "Bridge Out" is a succession of abstract clatters, noisy interference and scattered dissected FX. God knows what demographic Mullinix is hoping to a appeal to - if any.
Review: Moscow's Isaiah Tapes are also the guys behind the great Baptismo Alpinismo and Longlife Python sub labels, which are doing great things at the moment. Next up for the label is Charles Torris aka Le Matin, who after a bunch cassette only releases over the past few years releases his first full length. The LP album's six tracks and accompanying bonus CD traverse the galaxy of lowdown smack electro; reminiscent of Dopplereffekt like on "Ma Voisine La Pute" or "Yeah", wacky modular synth improvisation as heard on the charmingly titled "Cat Vomit" or deeply sublime minimal techno as heard on "M05 Michel Platini". Brilliant album from start to finish. Tip!
Review: As this collection on Ale Natalizia's Ecstatic proves, Gavin Russom's experiments with the far out reaches of electronic music dates back to the mid-'90s. Russom is perhaps best placed to explain the context: "Arriving in New York City I found myself surrounded by an incredibly intense field of stuff to take in; late night radio mixes which featured distinctly New York sounds like freestyle and hip hop, clubs where house, techno and jungle played to drugged-out and/or completely sober sweaty crowds and beard scratchers alike, no wave, new wave, disco, afro-Caribbean, art rock and experimental music records I would pick up at thrift shops or used record stores." This is clearly heard throughout Source Cognitive Eyes, a compilation of sonic sketches recorded between 1996 and 1998 which waves no faithfulness to any one genre of style. Instead, Russom paints a wild and distorted picture, one that has been replicated these days through labels like LIES or The Trilogy Tapes. This is cutting-edge gear for the time it was recorded, and it's no surprise that it is only now that Russom has been brave enough to resurrect the tapes.