Review: Patient Sounds Intl. founder Matthew Sage describes himself as a "digital rustic" who explores "plunderphonics and sound collage, ambience and cyberpastoralia". While we imagine Sage had his tongue firmly pressed into his cheek when he wrote that, it's a fairly accurate description of new album "Catch A Blessing". The eight tracks blend music concrete, otherworldly ambient, snapshot electronics and noise, layering up disparate and often unusual elements - field recordings, brief snatches of instrumentation, fluid electronic sounds, effects-laden tones, and so on - to create pieces that are as intriguing as they are relaxed and entertaining. The whole album is pretty "out there" of course, but in the most melodious and atmospheric of ways.
Review: Master of ambient spaces and far out places, long-time Finnish producer Sasu Ripatti (aka Vladislav Delay) blesses us once again with another release, this from his 'Visa' period of unreleased tracks.
The first track out of the gate is a recognizable Vladislav Delay piece, but instead of gently flowing rivers of sound, instead we have a series of stiff, machine-like rhythms applied to his classic infinitely deep pads and ambient environmental sounds. It just continues to pile in more elements until becoming almost indistinguishable from his natural, organic flow. From there we move into somewhat more familiar territory but still unusually stripped down and mechanical for a Vladislav Delay joint. It's fascinating to see such an intricate songwriting process laid bare in such a way, often exposing each individual, nearly bottomless sound in isolation.
Deeper into the album, things veer into decidedly more abrasive and synthetic territory, at times becoming an almost unrecognizable artist for a moment, only to be eventually subsumed under layers of shifting ambience that could only be Sasu.
This austere minimalism makes these tracks some of the most hypnotic since the early 90s excursions, but at the same time seems to have left its organic, analog roots and melded with the harsh gridlocked modern sequencer. ~Clint Anderson
Review: You could be forgiven for questioning the Californian roots of Ceremony. Then again, it's a big old state. Big enough, apparently, to hide one of the most vital movements in British music in its midst. Evidently no coincidence that the band's name nods to a seminal slice of Joy Division, while post punk never disappeared this 14-strong collection is enough to trick anyone into thinking they'd woken up in the genre's explosive heyday. "Turn Away The Bad Thing" sets the record straight as album opener. Intense, punchy, visceral and- crucially- incredibly catchy, Ross Farrar's lyrics arrive with rock 'n' roll's unapologetic edge. It's a case of one track and you're in. It's also perhaps the rawest offering here, synths and electronics gradually demanding more attention as the LP progresses. "From Another Age", for example, places bouncing keys centre stage as pseudo-guitar riffs. Basically buy it, buy it now.
Review: Kiev House go straight for the uplifting, heart-melting tip with this album release from label lynchpin Cape Cod. Richard Farrell brings a swooning sentimentality to "Sunsay", while YMTK drops some RnB vocal flex over the insanely catchy "Good Company Girl". There's space for all kinds of production on this varied album from footwork beats and rave-tinged breaks, but the overarching theme is one of crossover maximalism - brilliantly produced vocal tracks that by right should be bothering the charts the world over. Get the inside track on some next level crowd pleasers from Eastern Europe.
Review: Boom: 7th Storey bossman Tim Reaper slams down his unavoidable hammer once again. This time on the blink-and-miss Lickshot series. Going right back to the roots for this, both sides are crusty, clattering and rougher than a cat's tongue. Just the way we like them. Real reggae samples, warm dubby bass, unpredictable twists and more groove than a carpenter's worktop; this is proper jungle. Don't fear the Reaper... and don't sleep on this!
This Love Is Magic (feat Chanel - Soul Rockers mix) (3:48)
When It Rains (feat Cleveland Jones) (4:39)
Review: It would be fair to say that Dee "Kejam" Majek (real name Oladisun Majekodunmi) is something of a veteran, with the Nigeria-born writer, musician and label owner producing his first released music way back in the early 1980s. This double seven-inch single marks his debut for Izipho Soul, and his first release of any sort since 2016 debut album "Majek". There's much to admire throughout, from the slick '80s soul warmth of Lisa Taylor collaborations "Can You Feel The Love" and "My Only Love" - the latter featuring a slight two-step soul feel - to the electrofunk-influenced R&B shuffle of Chanel hook-up "This Love Is Magic (Soul Rockers Mix)" and the toasty, dewy-eyed goodness of "When It Rains", which features lovely lead vocals from Cleveland Jones.