Review: With a story intrinsically woven into the fabric of the Deep Explorer catalogue, Leo Gunn presents his debut album in a sultry haze of natural, heartfelt deep house with all the soul the genre has to offer. The LP begins in a laconic fashion with the slow-ticking "Leo & Leo Jr" before "Journey Inwards" presents a more focused kind of track for steady warm ups and hazy mornings. "Digital vs MIDI" is equally a subtle kind of party starter with its solid rhythmic foundation and "Home Base" fixes its gaze on a more lively time of night, but here and throughout the mood is predominantly mellow, as it should be with a release on Deep Explorer.
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: Ilija Rudman is certainly a prolific artist, regularly appearing on labels like Is It Balearic? and running his own Imogen label to ensure he's always got an outlet for the classically informed grooves he does so well. Paradigma is his third studio album, and it finds the Croatian producer exploring all manner of moods both day time and nocturnal. At one moment you might be wistfully cruising down the sultry boulevards of "Temptations Trial", only to cosy up with the comely tones of "Creamfields" or the vibrant chords of "Elastica". By and large it's a downtempo affair for private reflection, steeped in 80s glamour and produced with a crystalline perfection to add that all-important glint to your life.
Review: After Hamid kicked off the H+ label last year he returns with an intriguing double pack that draws on a wide variety of collaborators to turn out some truly innovative leftfield house music sounds. There's an overarching theme of micro house hovering around Methods For The Madness Vol 1, but it's far from run of the mill stuff. The opening cut featuring Josh Tweek is a sparkling, swinging affair that piles on the funk and the delirious effects, while Jesse Morrison's own turn on the closing track winds up in a haunting, abstract slice of refined reduction.
Stanislav Tolkachev - "While You Are Drawing A Butterfly" (2:10)
Hoavi - "Aya Horizon" (3:57)
Review: Crimean label Krym Mryk returns with its sophomore release: a Various Artists collection putting the spotlight on several top musicians from Russia and Ukraine as well as a few newcomers to the scene. Highlights come fast and thick throughout; we're particularly loving the grinding cyclicality of Rim Menko's "Illusion", beatless yet hypnotic arpeggio workouts ("Amb Day Out" and "November Bad") by Pavel Milyakov (Buttechno), man of the hour Stanislav Tolkachev with slow-mo entrancer "While You Are Drawing A Butterfly" and Hoavi's "Aya Horizon", which closes the LP with its sublime ambience.
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 been two years since Teengirl Fantasy won the world over with "Cheaters" and their debut album 7am, an album that referenced Mr Fingers as much as the generation of chillwave artists that preceded them. While that album undoubtedly felt top heavy at times, such was the nature of that single, Tracer feels like an altogether more balanced album, hitting the right note between their looser, experimental rhythmic tendencies and grandiose melodic nature, such as on the twisting, symphonic "End", and the new age sould of "EFX". Of course there are some certified club tracks there too - "Do It" is almost pure 90s Nu Groove, while "Timeline" is a forcefully acidic track swathed in deep, marshmallow pads - but they fit nicely with the album's whole - forward thinking electronic music that is an ideal fit for the R&S mission statement.
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: 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.