Review: This is proving to be a big breakthrough year for Kosh, a producer hailing from Casablanca in Morocco. After making a first appearance last year on Casa Voyager, he's returned to that label a second time before dropping the "Endless Quest" 12" on eudemonia. But now he's made a marked leap forward with this transmission on 20:20 Vision, where his incredibly well-read take on vintage electro sounds right at home. There is quality pouring from every corner of this record, but we recommend you make a beeline for the sumptuous "Vicious Love," an acid-laced burner with soul to match its snarl.
Review: Three years on from the release of her acclaimed debut album, "Epoch Sinus", on Hotflush, Sophie Schnell once more dons the PYUR alias for a follow-up on Subtext. The Bristol-based experimental label says that the set explores Schnell's fascination with "the space between life and death"; it's certainly an unearthly, unsettling and occasionally hallucinatory affair that fuses neo-classical style musical elements (strings, operatic vocals) with evocative electronic motifs, crunchy IDM style drums and cutting-edge production techniques. It's a genuinely unique and mind-altering affair, but one that thrills and excites at every turn. A triumph!
Review: If you enjoyed Yu Su's brilliant EP on Second Circle earlier in the year - and, let's face it, who didn't? - there's a rather high chance that you'll enjoy her first outing on Ninja Tune offshoot Technicolour. "Watermelon Woman" is a superb chunk of bass-heavy house music positive - an inventive and hugely enjoyable fusion of unfussy drum machine rhythms, sampled tribal drums, toasty bass, dubbed-out effects, stargazing electronics, fluttering flutes and jazzy motifs that have just the right amount of breezy Latin flavour. The original version comes backed with a hazy and laidback Dub rework and a boisterous, off-kilter remix by Francis Inferno Orchestra that layers rubbery sounds and heady vocal samples above a skewed tribal house beat.
Review: It's taken a while, but finally Thom Yorke's impressive third solo album, "ANIMA", is available on wax (and in a fetching shade of orange, too). A future classic that continues the legacy he started with XL Recordings back in 2006 (with his solo debut The Eraser), ANIMA is well worth picking up, as Yorke and co-producer Nigel Godrich offer up evocative, off-kilter songs built around the twin attractions of the Radiohead man's distinctive vocals and skewed backing tracks rich in layered electronic noise, body-bending sub-bass, discordant synthesizer parts and intriguingly jaunty drum loops. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the creepy, lo-fi ambient swirl of "Last I Heard (...He Was Circling the Drain)" and "Dawn Chorus" (a blissfully dewy-eyed early morning soundscape), to the low-slung, post-trip-hop hum of "I Am A Very Rude Person" and the fizzing, jazz-fired thrust of "Impossible Knots". Melancholic, yes. Deep and self-effacing, of course. Nihilistic, not really. Percussive futurist sub-pop is back.
Review: After a decidedly silent 2013 Burial is back on Hyperdub with a new single that points to pastures new for the stealthy producer. "Rival Dealer" is sure to polarize opinion as it takes a positively unexpected route into hardcore breaks, static interference, all manner of oddball speech samples, diversions and switches in dynamics, and a willfully grainy production finish that borders on punk. Depending on where you choose to dive into the ten-minute track the experience could be very different; experiencing it in full is nothing short of a rollercoaster. "Hiders" too is full of surprises, more indebted to pop balladry than anything remotely garage related, and the emotive croon and swooning piano is only magnified by a Yazoo-esque drum stomp at the midway point. "Come Down To Us" is equally heartfelt, all slow release vocals and languid chords yet constantly fractured at the edges, with yet more surprising turns of bombast waiting in the wings over thirteen minutes.
Review: Shahr Farang continues to blossom as a label, primarily as a vessel for the work of Sohrab Karimi and Rasul Gafarov, better known as Ahu and Lenta respectively. On this occasion, Ahu and Lenta have teamed up to present some intriguing clippings from two separate improvised studio jams. As is customary with the label, the primary mode of expression is minimal techno shrouded in hazy textures and atmospheric matter, but it veers more towards the kind of clicks and cuts you'd expect from a classic Scape record than anything geared towards the dancefloor. The steady tick of a 4/4 kick means this music isn't necessarily consigned to the headphones though - the right kind of warm up slot or backroom could be just the place to melt into these delicate productions.
Review: As the vibrant and colourful cover artwork makes clear, Moon Boots latest album for Anjunadeep - his second following well-received 2017 debut "First Landing" - is a wonderfully kaleidoscopic and positive affair full of cheery, dancefloor-friendly songs and picturesque instrumentals (see the twinkling "Trance & Dental"). The American producer is a master at blurring the boundaries between radio-friendly house, deep synth-pop and nu-disco, and much of "Bimini Road" is based around this accessible and summery musical intersection. There are a few pleasing curveballs dotted across the LP, though, including the title track's piano-heavy Balearic chug and the sunny two-step garage-pop of Gary Saxby hook-up "Gary's House".
Review: Alexis Georgopoulos and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma's Fragments Of A Season was one of the highlights of Emotional Response's output in 2017, centred around blissful, Balearic instrumentation that shone a spotlight on the considerable talents of these accomplished artists. Now the label is revisiting the material with a couple of finely selected versions, the first coming from Emotional regulars Woo, who dutifully inject "Marine" with their effervescent, otherworldly expressions and create a glistening masterpiece in the process. Felicia Atkinson then tackles "AA Cleo" and sends it out onto the horizon in a haze of reverb romanticism, muffled percussive rumbles and murmuring vocals.
Review: For the latest release on the weird and wonderful Udacha label, Moscow based artist and producer Vasiliy Stepanov aka P SH steps up to the plate. With a selection of abstract and warped electronics, the Russian artists presents a wide variations of cuts, including pop, dub, soul, fourth world, tribal, comedic and all other distinctive and magical vibes. With highlight tracks such as Naam Drops, Indigo Swamp and pretty much every composition, the LP should appeal to all the lovers of the other dimensions
Review: Given his innate ability to craft intensely atmospheric and often fundamentally unsettling music, it seems apt that Thom Yorke has finally got around to producing a film soundtrack. It's fitting, too, that said soundtrack is for Luca Guadagnino's weirdo remake of 1977 Italian horror flick "Suspiria". Yorke nails the brief, delivering a string of chilling, otherworldly instrumentals that not only draw on his well-established love of dark ambient and gruesome electronica, but also foreboding neo-classical movements and sparse, wide-eyed arrangements. There are a smattering of superb vocal moments, too, with recent single "Suspirio" - described by one broadsheet reviewer as "the saddest waltz you'll ever here" - standing out.
Review: Horton Jupiter has been skirting around various cosmically-inclined outfits for many years now, but this release marks his first outright solo venture, and where better for it to blast off from than the celestial circus sideshow of Bahnsteig 23? The record launches in a fit of kosmische bravado, all nagging arpeggios, warbling leads, sustained guitars and a healthy dose of drama. "Eclectic Day" is certainly a fitting title. "Smokin' The Roach" is an equally bombastic affair, although with a chirpier disposition and some Italian-sounding vocals, and then "The Box" finishes the EP off with a grungy trip through bongo beatdowns and fuzz guitar for those who like their psych music with a vintage twist.
Review: The seventh and final instalment of De:Tuned's brilliant Unboxed Brain series - an unashamed tribute to 1990s IDM and ambient techno featuring contributions from many of the artists who defined that scene - is predictably special. It features a slew of new remixes of previously released tracks, plus "Monolith", a previously unreleased ambient track from the Future Sound of London that's every bit as weird, wonderful and out there as the duo's greatest work. Elsewhere, Kirk Degiorgio (as Future/Past) and Mark Broom both drag B12's "World's End" towards the dancefloor (the latter providing a punchy electro re-make), while The Black Dog provides a brilliantly blissful, string-drenched ambient interpretation of Scanner's "Eros".
Review: After years spent supporting the underground IDM scene digitally, Glasgow label Ambidextrous makes the leap to vinyl with this killer compilation of ear-catching deep techno and electronica. Christ brings a bubbling range of synth tones to "Rom" before Norken and Nyquist drop some brooding electro tones over rolling beats on"Od Detot". Solipsism has a more sassy house sound to impart, while Nyquist goes into full electro mode on his own. On the flip, Analogue Audio Association have some edgy acid to throw down, Cyan341 brings a touch of boogie flex to the record and Mich Chillage rounds the record off with emotive outboard electronics of a reflective nature.
Review: Hamid's HPLS label has been strangely quiet this year, so it's welcome news to see one of the most intriguing operators on the outer reaches of the minimal house scene back in action with a new talent to share with the world. DCHA-DCHA makes a bold arrival with a two-pronged release comprising of ten tracks in total. On this first part of Opus Incertum, the title track makes a bold statement of intent with its low slung groove carrying all kinds of splaying, splashing and otherwise spaced out sonic trysts. There's a more discernible strut to "Te Lubesc," while "The Age Of Solon" invites Planet X into the mix for a spaced out slice of machine boogie. With the abundance of ideas spilling out of part one, it promises a lot for part two to follow.
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: Surface Records has never pulled any punches as one of the UK's toughest techno labels, and The 65D Mavericks have embodied the same spirit with their charged, lyrically provocative approach. After a lengthy hiatus label and artist are back in action, and sounding as fierce as ever. "False Prophets" is not for the faint hearted - an avalanche of thunderous drums and expletive-laden diatribes. "Cosmic Drift" is marginally more meditative, but still positively unhinged in its execution. "You Lost Your Mind" flails around a muddy, punky swamp of deviant sonic behaviour, and "Immovable (dub)" throws one last curveball into the long grass, stripping out the bark without losing the bite of this proudly individual group of techno marauders.
Review: No less than five years since his last mind-busting opus, "You're Dead!", the one and only FlyLo finally returns with a staggering new album. At this point all bets are off as to which direction the visionary beat scene maven will take his stellar sound, and true to form "Flamagra" departs from solid ground quicker than you can shout "lift off". From arrhythmic spirituals to futuristic soul, the Cali man known to his family as Steven Ellison has never sounded freer in his sound. The cast of guest spots is off the charts as well - George Clinton, Little Dragon, Solange, David Lynch and Anderson .Paak are just some of the dazzling talents involved. Need we say more - take a trip once more with one of the 21st century's most visionary producers.
Review: With releases on a who's who list of labels that are pushing experimental, underground house and techno including L.I.E.S, Creme Organisation, Echovolt and Strange Life, William Burnett has been steadily putting out releases that have gained a lot of respect without having to shout too loud about it. So much so that as well as running his own stella WT Records label, William is now often cited as a producer's producer. Deep and full of dub aesthetics that encompasses a world of it's own, his music is not just driven by a need to keep the floor moving, but are also about taking your headspace somewhere else. Progressing things a stage further is the Black Deer project. Recently launched, but in gestation for some time, it's introspective slant, plus loose referencing to his upbringing in Texas, allows William more freedom for experimentation. The Last Tortuga is taken from the same sessions that yielded the Willie Burns The Overlord EP on Trilogy Tapes as well as Black Deer's Trail Of Tears EP on Rush Hour, this 6 track EP has been due on the label for sometime, but it's been worth the wait as his sound has developed and expanded to take in ambient, drone and krautrock and highlights his musicianship in a new light.
Review: After equally wonderful turns from Junto Club, Deeds and Curses!, emergent deviant disco denizens Snap Crackle & Pop invite a band called Uncanny Valley to offer up their unique brand of deathly wave music shot through with on-point beyond the grave vocals. "Chain Store" is a nightmarish march through wobbly synths while "Nowhere To Nowhere" plots a strident course with its bouncing beat and fulsome, undulating bass. "Popcorn" flips the script with its uptempo thrust, but the vintage synth-pop threads are still the dominant force in the music. Manfredas drops a remix of "Chain Store" that maintains the freakiness with a slow but heavy house lurch, and then Mondowski strips the meat from "Nowhere To Nowhere" and leaves a potent, skeletal club treatment behind.
Review: The Chilean producer based in New York City Nicolas Jaar presents his new album entitled Sirens. This is his first solo album since 2011's Space Is Only Noise LP and released on his own Other People imprint. Jaar has been involved in various projects over the years, such as Darkside (with multi-instrumentalist Dave Harrington), while last year he released Pomegranates, a collection of ambient tracks provided as an alternative soundtrack to the 1969 film The Colour of Pomegranates. The LP is six tracks that "flow seamlessly" between each other. According to a press release, the album is "Jaar's most topically cohesive and politically-minded record to date."
Review: Datawave is the project of Brussels based Gaetan Votion, who returns to Natural Sciences for the first time since 2017's "Submersion" - which was featured on their V/A Future Works Vol 3 compilation. Taking up where he left off last time, Votion explores the dark and dystopian realms of electro bass on this self-titled EP, taking the best of the genre's classic aesthetic, while delivering a stylish and contemporary edge. From the A side's introverted and futuristic thriller "Hidden Outpost", through to the high energy workout of "Stellar Wind" on the flip, this certainly proves to be one of the week's highlights in our electro releases.
Review: With Hamid's HPLS label reigniting with the fresh, untethered sounds of DCHA-DCHA, we arrive at the second instalment of Opus Incertum already expecting some wild sounds. Fortunately label and artist don't disappoint, and we dive straight in with the unhinged aqua-industro-funk of "Morning Mimosa." That's swiftly followed up by "AGLS," which keeps the vibe liquid while welcoming a richer variety of marine life into the studio. "GalerianPlatz" makes the leap towards electro, with the surrealism tap still pouring wonderfully unexpected colours, tones and textures into the mix. At every turn this record, like its part one counterpart, surprises and delights with its original approaches.
Review: Before he'd even released any music, Brainwaltzera's tracks were being "liked" by Aphex Twin. It caused a bit of a furore - and subsequently the hype surrounding this admittedly superb debut album - but the patronage of Richard D James is in many ways fitting. You see, Poly Ana is full of the kind of hard-to-pigeonhole electronic fare that could have come from the legendary Cornish producer's studio. There are moments of fluid, ghostly ambience, alternately clattering and crackling IDM machine jams, mind-altering leftfield techno throb-jobs and fizzing, braindance-inspired workouts. Imaginative, emotive, off-kilter and left-of-centre, it's litte less than a triumphant first album.
Review: Last year, Burnt Friedmann and Uwe Schmidt reunited as Flanger for the first time in a decade, releasing the IDM-meets-future jazz full-length Lollopy Dripper. Here the experimental electronica veterans are at it again, delivering three more eccentric chunks of body-popping electronic jazz-fusion. They begin with the spacey throb of "Spinner", where broken computer noises and glitch electronics ride an undulating, off-kilter drum machine groove. "It From Bit" retains the attractive glitches of its' predecessor, blending them with an up-tempo, dub-influenced techno rhythm. Finally, they let their jazz influences run free on the computerized broken beat-meets-IDM-in-dub fizz of "Loose Joints".