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: 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: 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: 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: As part of Mura Oka, Louis Vial has already been spotted on the excellent Latency label as well as delivering a solo EP to Collapsing Market earlier this year. He once again dons his Eszaid cape on this release for the equally fine Meandyou stable, tapping into the labels predilection for obscure variations on the fringes of house and techno. "777,7" is especially captivating in its insistent cyclical minimalism, drilling straight for the subconscious, while "Eyeless Mannekin" sets adrift in aqueous climes for a proper floatation tank dub techno immersion. Using subtlety as a powerful tool, Eszaid ably matches up to the quality that has come before on Meandyou.
Autarkic - "Screaming (To Be With You)" (feat The White Screen)
JD Twitch - "Dalbouka"
Sneaker - "I Looked For You"
Die Orangen - "Rattling Ghosts"
Review: After teaming up to release the scintillating works of C Cat Trance in their original 80s form on Screaming Ghosts, Emotional Rescue and Malka Tuti join forces once again to deliver a ludicrously talented roster of remixers who catapult John Rees Lewis' cult group into thrilling new spatial and temporal zones. Autarkic decides to go for the full-tilt cover version on "Screaming (To Be With You)", with ample help from The White Screen, while JD Twitch roughs up "Dalbouka" into a quintessential slab of ethno-motorik body music. Sneaker's take on "I Looked For You" emphasizes the atmospheric tension in the original, giving the track a cinematic scope, and Die Orangen's "Rattling Ghosts" finishes the record on an appropriately ominous, subtly industrial tone.
Review: While he's offered up the occasional remix, William "Burial" Bevan has been rather quiet of late. In fact, this two-tracker marks his first original material for almost two years. Lead cut "Claustro" is an unexpectedly up-tempo dancefloor affair - a sweet and sticky chunk of future-garage that sees Bevan wrap sugary female vocal snippets, spacey chords and bubbly analogue electronics around snappy two-step beats - drenched in vinyl crackle and tape hiss - and a rock solid bassline. It will raise a few eyebrows given his previous work but nevertheless sounds like a summer anthem in waiting. Bevan returns to familiar territory on flipside cut "State Forest", a ghostly, field recording-laden ambient excursion where pedal steel style motifs slowly rise above opaque electronics.
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.
Review: Sainte Vie has been working away in the Mexican underground for some time, running Akumandra as a free, digital-only label to help promote all kinds of electronic music. Now it's time for Vie to step up with their first outright release, first time on wax, and hence a new era for the label. The tone is varied across the record, leading in with the worldly drum rattle and string strum of "Huracan", a whirlwind of drama and hand-played musicianship that stands out from the crowd. "Albatross" is a more introspective cut that brings Vie's vocals to the forefront, and then "Maria" chills things out further with a haunting vocal from Pascale and some delicate finger picking guitar delights over a dynamic set of drums.
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: 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: All that we know about the enigmatically named Sa Pa is they are affiliated with Weimar crew Giegling, emerging earlier this year with the Fuubutsushi album on the Forum sublabel that garnered comparisons with Prince Of Denmark. Sa Pa's penchant for subaqueous techno now lands the producer a 12" debut on Marcel Dettmann Recordings. Lead track "We Can Be Friends" is so dubbed-out and murky that it could almost run as a background percussive piece in your mix - that's not to say that we don't think it's absolutely killer, because it is! "Morocco" is completely in a world of its own, crackly feedback and sparse sonics abound, while "Fast Jam" is a heady techno stomper with a punchy low-end and sublime percussion, a track that is followed by another murky load of swamped atmospherics in the form of "Untitled 11". If we have to be completely honest, this has been our favourite MDR 12" in a long time, and it comes with a heartfelt recommendation. Killer.
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: 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: 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".
Review: Default Records has returned with its second release after compiling a roster of artists who are committed to establishing presence in the scene by pushing boundaries and pursuing excellence. Camelia starts us off on the A side with *Transferring*, which presents itself in a light and airy atmosphere. Its playful percussive notes are juxtaposed against its hypnotic groove making for a warm and easy listen. Macarie follows with *Flu*, a vibrant and dance-inducing sludge of gritty, piercing elements that seamlessly blooms into an emotional melody that is driven by its tantalizing rhythm. Label boss Exander shows the heavier side of his creative spectrum on the B side with *Odyssey*. The fullness of this cut accompanied by its intriguing and directive vocal is only enhanced by its delicate features and attention to detail. Closing out the compilation is Lulla's *Distort Time* which reveals all its insides with a symphony of glitchy bleeps and blops all reinforced by a cadence of drums and groove that stirs it into an electric soup.
Review: With this release, WOW Signal Records presents a modern view on bass oriented electronic music. From Russian producer Cyberworm's "Breath Slow" (future garage), Kontext's dub techno epic "Doubling Theory (Meteors)" to the techstep of Melotronics' "Launch Pad" and Diagram's leftfield drum & bass on "Orbital Collapse". These genres are united by a uniform deep sound of the planet. They even released it on vinyl, because they are intent on spreading the music that makes them vibe with other bass lovers the world over.
Review: The latest Emotional Response release provides something very special indeed, in the form of a new track from under the radar psychedelic rock musician Nick Nicely. Nicely has been making music from the 70s onwards, but his music has recently undergone something of a critical reappraisal, with the likes of Robert Wyatt and Robyn Hitchcock supposedly inspired by his work; "Wrottersley Road" provides the ideal entry into his music, a masterful piece of shoegaze pop filled with fuzzed out guitars and Eastern psychedelic tones. Remixes are provided by Invisible Hands, who provide a minimal 80's inspired electro-pop version, which comes saturated in radiophonic textures, and The Oscillation, who take the track into even more abstract ambient territory than the original, deep into a place where time seems to stand still entirely, drawing its rich textures out into infinity.
Demdike Stare - "Demdike Stare Meets Shangaan Electro"
Demdike Stare - "Demdike Stare Meets Shangaan Electro" (version)
Hype Williams - "Hype Williams Meets Shangaan Electro"
Hype Williams - "Hype Williams Meets Shangaan Electro" (version)
Review: Honest Jons are our undisputed favourites as far as bringing forth new and unexpected projects goes. One such project is their glorious string of releases which saw several contemporary electronic producers re-interpret the South African electro deluge of Shangaan Electro, a near 10 piece band consisting of wild dancers, freaky masks and ludicrously memorable anthems. This release features the experimental duo of Demdike Stare and the mysterious but wonderful pair that is Hype Williams. Demdike's remix is a sparse and sub-aqueous drone filtered through irregular bongos and melting swirls of voices, whilst the "version" pretty much reduces those already scarce drums to mere memories. Over on the flip, Hype Williams create a sublimely majestic rhythm, those vocals swaying so darn effortlessly over the rugged drum kit pouncing lazily beneath it. Their version injects a severely chopped slice of bass and concentrates primarily on the percussion - mounds of delays and reverbs present in true HW fashion.
Review: Will Bankhead's Trilogy Tapes imprint continues their assault on 2012 with the latest release of Tuff Sherm - an alias of TTT regular Dro Carey. Sitting nicely alongside the KM/MM and Willie Burns releases on TTT this year, the Pharmacy EP showcases a sound that is part raw techno, part submerged house; the title track combines rolling tom-heavy percussion with abrasive unprocessed synth tones, like Drexciya jamming with Kassem Mosse. On the flip, "Hydlide" makes things even murkier, with some abstract beatdown house that would give Madteo a run for his money, while "Leg Man" is another trip down the wormhole of abstract loops and minimal clockwork rhythms. We probably don't need to tell you, but this is another essential 12" from TTT!
Review: With a name that nods to My Bloody Valentine it's not surprising to hear a whisper of shoegaze sneaking into this debut single from Soft As Snow. As the latest signing to Houndstooth this release sits comfortably next to the gothic tinges of Snow Ghost, with vocalist Oda Egjar Starheim calling to mind Karin Dreijer Andersson of The Knife and Fever Ray fame. There's a canny mixture of noirish pop and expansive electronica, with the duo unafraid to embrace snappy time signature changes and bombastic choruses in amidst the more subtle elements of their sound. With five distinctive songs to announce themselves in addition to a remix from Old Apparatus alumni Asher Levitas, Glass Body is a powerful debut for an act set to tear up festival circuits in the near future.