Review: Nicuri has appeared previously on Sound Theories with the Spectrum EP back in 2014 as well as Growin Music and Yygrec. Now we have the Replay EP featuring "No Exit", this is stomping warehouse techno, New Jersey style, with its grating bassline, harsh metallic strikes and white noise washes; this is one relentless groove! On the flip is "Shinar" which is more on the house tip; the kind of darkly soulful and emotive type: think Strength Music (which he's released on previously) or Soul People Music. A dreamy hypnotising melody, swirling pads and tight groove all round. Tip!
Unity 4 Utopia (feat Mark De Clive-Lowe & Misumami) (5:29)
Outersoace Connection (feat Steve Spacek & Harvey Sutherland) (5:16)
The Heat (interlude) (3:01)
Smarter (feat Tableek & Misumami) (4:26)
Together (feat Colonel Red) (5:38)
Candy Yam (skit) (2:23)
Vibe On It (1:32)
Freek (feat Mista Monk) (2:51)
Some Space (feat Danielle Moore & Lay-Far) (5:45)
She Likes (feat Saucy Lady) (3:56)
Voyage (feat Kid Sublime) (3:10)
Soul Profit (feat Dave Aju) (3:45)
Rockin' Music (feat Recloose & Isaac Aesilli) (5:56)
Review: Jules Habib aka Inkswel touches down on Berlin's OYE label - the mythical shop's releasing wing - with an album of experimental soul and disco. In fact, we'd place this in the same category as many Stones Throw releases, meaning that it's pretty much genreless and absolutely sick. We start of with a heads-down, lighters out kinda jam with a slow tempo and a hip-hop vibe, and quickly move onto bumpier, synthier disco territories that simply make you wan to move. Across its nine tunes, we also hear shreds of the Detroit school of house, and the sort of cuts that Kyle Hall likes to pull out in his sets; all in all, it's just a great piece of dance music, and a diverse one at that!
Review: Brussels-based Echo Collective is an extended crew of classically trained musicians helmed by Neil Leiter and Margaret Hermant. While they've been active for some time and worked on countless projects, Plays Amnesiac - a re-imagining of Radiohead's 2001 album of the same name - marks their full-length debut. It's an undeniably impressive collection, with Thom Yorke and company's glitchy, heavily electronic original songs re-cast as neo-classical pieces rich in arresting clarinet and oboe lines, jazzy live drums, cut-glass violins and gentle orchestration. Occasionally projects like this can feel a bit gimmicky, but Plays Amnesiac simply oozes class from start to finish. There are no cheesy gimmicks here, just sublime, classical-jazz fusion cuts that dance from the speakers like the soundtrack of a film we've yet to see.
Ames Henry & Paul Kav - "Business In Hasenheide" (5:57)
Ames Henry - "Tribute" (6:28)
Fanu - "Dubia" (6:48)
Octo Octa - "For My Girls" (3:29)
Review: It's been two years since Kellam Matthews launched his retro-futurist, breakbeat-driven Frendzone label via a fine split EP featuring cuts from Ames Henry and Octo Octa. This follow-up is therefore arguably long overdue. Fittingly, it's Henry that gets things going in stellar fashion via Paul Kav collaboration "Business in Hasenheide", an urgent fusion of two-step drums, thrusting acid bass and jumpy synth stabs. Ames then goes solo on the breezy bounce of "Tribute", before Fanu successfully roughs things up via the mutant sub-bass, dystopian noises and distorted breakbeats of "Dubia". The undisputed highlight, though, is Octo Octa's "For My Girls", a wonderfully spooky and hectic jungle roller that's guaranteed to set pulses racing out on the dancefloor.
Review: When it comes to "malombo" music - a fusion of indigenous South African musical styles and the freeform musical experimentation of American jazz - Thabang Tabane can boast impressive credentials. "Matjale" may be his debut solo album, but he's been performing the style since he was eight years old, mostly in bands fronted by his father, the "godfather of malombo" Dr Philip Nchipi Tabane. As first albums go, "Matjale" is strong, offering a heartwarming and ear-pleasing malombo mix of headline-grabbing jazz guitar solos, hand percussion-propelled polyrhythms, busy bass guitar and layered, life-affirming vocals. Regardless of whether you have any prior knowledge of "malombo", it's well worth a listen.
Review: A decade after he made his debut on Hooj Choons' deep house offshoot Airtight, Ichisan continues to deliver sporadic releases of the highest quality. The Slovenian is on top form on "Megla", a four-track missive that marks his debut on the fast-rising Kanto label. He eases us in gently with the title track, a wonky but rolling affair built around dub disco bass, fluid electric piano solos and heady Hawaiian guitar flourishes, before reaching for the synthesizers on the bustling cosmic disco cheeriness of "Yassa". The fun continues on the flip, first via the ever rising, sun-bright synthesizer arpeggio lines and wavy atmosphere of Balearic disco workout "Planica", then via the Jonny Nash guitar siolos and dewy-eyed sunrise vibes of "Veter", which could be the EP's standout moment.
Review: Musique Plastique (Visible Cloaks/Pedro) rescues a nearly lost soundtrack to a Belgian avant-theatrical work from the 80s. Conceived in 1986 and part of the experimental show of the same name directed by Guy Cassiers, Daedalus is a fascinating score for small chamber orchestra (cello, violin, clarinet), voices, percussion and electronics. Recorded and mixed at Eastfield Recording Studios in Belgium, the music accompanies an ancient story told in an unconventional way by a company of 45 young disabled actors, who almost avoided completely verbal interventions - communicating exclusively through gestures, movement, costumes and sound.
Review: Liaisons Dangereuses self-titled debut album was not an immediate success on its' release in 1981, but its' influence would spread far and wide. Almost entirely made up of synthesized rhythms, chords and melodies - with the addition of stylish vocals from all three band members - it would help define the "electronic body music sound". It quickly became a big record in both Detroit and Chicago, inadvertently helping to inspire the nascent techno and house scenes. Listening again to this reissue, it's amazing how well the music as aged. While heavy on stylish posturing, it still sounds thrillingly futuristic and alien. It should be an essential purchase for anyone with even the smallest interest in the history and development of electronic music.
Review: Alisu is the electronic project of Chilean producer and graphic designer Jessica Campos de la Paz. Alisu started her career in 1998 by performing live sets of dub, techno, IDM and experimental sounds, not only as Alisu but also in the project Manziping with Rodrigo Rivera and Antonio Diaz, performing at many South American festivals. On her first release for Bottom Forty, Alisu composes three beautiful, purely hardware based tracks for the Rompiente EP with rhythmic vibes that take you from resonant underwater depths up into reflective cosmic atmospheres.
The opening track "Cyberspace" shows Alisu's synth prowess with a driving and building yet ambient electric world that eventually dissolves into different sparkling arpeggiations, while "Rompiente's" fractured vision of a perfect aural reality spreads across a beautiful seven minutes of hyper active arp's and bass rhythms. "Wake Up" has been a club and festival favorite as it's dance floor driving kicks create a solid groove mixed with transcendent pads and spaced out sounds are the perfect formula for keeping a dance floor moving while also elevating the listener to a higher level of emotion. Rounding out the Rompiente EP is a percussive rhythmic remix from one of our all time favorites In Flagranti who give us the deep and disco influenced bass lines we know and love.
Review: Brand new label from House Of Wax: Jupiter's Moon touch down with two highly sought-after rubs from the touchingly talented Djrum. Taking two meditative system smokers from London nine-piece The Drop, Djrum flexes in two distinct ways; "Looking To The Sky" gets an upbeat two-step twist that's not dissimilar to old Kromestar joints while "Takeover" wallows much deeper in the dubwise aesthetics as a slinkier two-step riddim bubbles beneath a much heavier bed of textures, pads and mbira. On dub since 2011 and still smouldering to this day, these are vinyl only and not likely to hang around. You know what to do.
Review: Up next on Slovenian legend Valentino Kanzyani's label is a fairly tight various artists EP showcasing some sleek minimal and tech house sounds. Beginning with the mysterious Bad Boys and their deep and dirty afterhours jam "Muse" while Cruise On The Valkan (again, whoever they are!) serve up the chugging early morning hypnotica of "Cruising No 3" and the tough rolling funk of "Cruising No 1" respectively - which will no doubt appeal to fans of similarly reduced sounds coming out of Romania at present. On the flip, the charmingly titled Vito Kalimari serves up a taste for the acid life of "Jupyfirsttry" which has the signature womp and wobble of the infamous silver Roland box all throughout it - this one was sick! Running since 2005, Jesus Loved You has presented some big names over the years, long before they got big too. Dan Andrei, SIT and Vinyl Speed Adjust are just a few we can mention.
Review: Sheffield's man of many aliases Tommy Vicari Jnr unleashes his debut LP as V.I.C.A.R.I on new Aussie vinyl-only imprint established by Mantra Collective's Jack Fuller. If you've followed Tommy for more than a minute you'll know what's in store here: lucid machine funk that bumps, grinds and spaces the dickens out of you. Key highlights include the molten warped bass on "Moy Lally In D", the juddering clipped funk of "Various Small Flames" and the Detroitian soul hurricane that is "Youereve" but these are just three of the twelve stunning synthetic spells he's cast right here. Essential.
Review: Eat More House's second salvo of 2019 comes courtesy of Rick Wade, a producer who seems incapable of making poor or mediocre music. His particular brand of Motor City deep house is always on-point and the four tracks here are every bit as atmospheric and groovy as you'd expect. Check first the foreboding analogue bass, punchy beats and simple melodic refrains of "Bmore Banger", before moving on to the deeper and more sedate - but not less dancefloor friendly - warmth of "NY". Over on side B, Wade reaches for the hypnotic beats, raw acid bass and enveloping chords of "Deep Sweet Dreams", before wrapping us in a blanket and offering up a steaming mug of hot chocolate via the wonderfully huggable deepness of "Too Deep". A master at work.
Review: Joe Montana aka Edoardo Fatovich is an Italian musician, DJ and producer who has been releasing music since 1993 across many seminal and now defunct labels - but more recently on Mindshake, 8bit and Claque Musique. Presenting the fifth release on fellow Italian imprint Pick.Sel here, we aren't sure whether these are some more unearthed gems from Fatovich archives or freshly made creations, but that's exactly our point - this is some timeless music on offer here. The A side features the emotive minimal tech house trip "Nute50" which could call comparisons to like minded legends such as Stewart S Walker or Akufen's earliest output. On the flip, "Little Ur Ex" is an exercise in reduced boompty business - the kind of micro-house that was popular in the mid noughties.
Review: The Vargas brothers are back; look out! When not turning Los Angeles upside down with their notorious warehouse parties, Vidal and Vangelis run the esteemed Droid Behaviour imprint with Drumcell but strike out on their own with the Inner Sense EP on their own imprint VRV. "Coruscate" is stomping and dusty warehouse techno with doomy chords that fans of the Fachwerk sound will surely dig, while the title track is the kind of steely and cyclical techno with functionality that will be a worthy addition to any serious DJs crate. Finally "Primeval" gets more moody and reduced but really retains its fury in its restraint, chugging away like a steamtrain through the darklands; this one's the winner by far.
Review: La Mambanegra was founded by saxophonist Jacobo Velez in Cali, the world capital of salsa on the Pacific coast of Colombia. According to Salvador de Bahia, Cali is the city with the most African descendants. This strong Afro influence is clearly heard in the songs of the 15-member orchestra. El Callegueso y su Mala MaNa combines traditional salsa from the streets of New York City during the seventies with elements of Jamaican, Cuban and Colombian music, as well as funk and current hip-hop influences. Velez raised the genre "break salsa" for his simmering brew. It is presented by some of the most accomplished musicians in Colombia, including the living Latin jazz legend Eddy Martinez and the salsa band Niche, and stretches over ten, roller-coaster-like songs, with stories from the Colombian everyday life on the family history of the band founder. "El Callegueso, was the godfather of the album, but it is only when it comes to love, for example in the piece "Cantare para vos" or "El Blues de Yemanja", that is the tribute to one Ocean goddess.
Review: Since 2015, Bucharest-based producer Andrei Ciubuc's been releasing one EP per year and, while we'd like to hear more from him, they've all been similarly dope. This is no surprise, as the artist hails from what is now surely the headquarters of contemporary tech-house, but it's important to point out that he's definitely at the top of that food chain. "Strei2" comes through on the young and ambitious Cuplet label, and bursts through our charts with a powerful, wonderfully minimalistic groove that has a certain industrial flair about it, buzzing and twisting head-first into a whirlpool off strangely jazzy sonics and complex percussion patterns - a real floor burner. "Cel Putin", on the flip, oozes a magnetic, dub-filtered tone from all angles, and its bubbling drums are the perfect solution to any oversized sound system wishing to be taken to overdrive. Pressed up on heavyweight vinyl, too.
Review: French label DDD now present Society of Silence composed of two Parisian artists and friends Benoît Legrain (Fareed) and Nicolas Villebrun also known as Tite. They usually appear on their eponymous imprint in addition to Fragil Musique or legendary local labels Versatile or Concrete. On "Ambivalent" they throw down a deep and dusty groove that is covered in a thick haze of smoke, you can smell the dust coming off those dense beats supporting some rusty/analogue groove aesthetics. Quite fitting then that they get in NYC's finest DJ Nature for some equally dope but more summery deepness; similar to that great stuff he threw down on Cottam's Ruff Draft last year.
Review: Shara music emerges with a concept that glitters by love for a very special woman named Sara. The producer of Barcelona Owen Ezard presents his new record label, Shara Music, and it starts nothing more , nothing less with this great piece of EP signed by the mexico-Italian couple Mijo & Rodion. A futuristic sound ep charged with hints Techno Latin and classical Italo influence also with the remixes included of "Chapo Guzman" and our great Damon Jee. Exceptional beginning for this label and where in addition They have prepared for us a lot of amazing references that will see the light as the year progresses. First reference Shara Music... SHM001 is coming up
Review: To simply call Mike Cooper a folk guitarist and vocalist would do the man no justice. Of course, he has put out a majority of slow-burning folk ballads, but Cooper has also dabbled in plenty of electronica and exotica. White Shadows In The South Seas was originally out on CD through Laurence English's Room40 back in 2013, but Scotland's Sacred Summits have decided to give it their vinyl baptism, and it's not surprise given how well it fits into their catalogue. This album is an explosion of moods, sounds and styles, making it both enchanting and excellent, but also impossible to pin down into one genre. The slow-burning exotica of the opener Dr Derelict somehow manages to sink smoothly into the tripping drums and twisted guitar riffs belonging to "White Shadows". It's simply to good to describe in words, and we're certain that this will make someone's top 5 releases of the year in the experimental charts. Cannot be missed.
Review: It would be fair to say that Paris Holley is not one of the best-known purveyors of 1980s funk and soul, though the handful of releases he put out in the decade tend to be cherished by serious diggers and DJs. 1984 jam "I Choose You", which is here reissued for the first time since the '80s, is undoubtedly one of his standout moments. Hazy, super-sweet and laidback, the cut sees Holley adding his soulful, high octave tones to a blissful backing track rich in fluid piano lines, sun-kissed guitars and mazy synth lines. Arguably even better is synth-funk B-side "Punkin' Funkin", a fizzing workout that sounds like a more soulful, talkbox-free take on Zapp man Roger Troutman's trademark sound.
Review: By getting Tokyo house OG Takuya Matsumoto on board for the first release, Takasi Makajima has launched his new label (Some Lost) Time in fine style. Three diverse originals that cover Matsumoto's vast palette and a dope remix of a Takuya classic, attention to detail is paid throughout. "Time" is a cosmic affair with slightly broken beats and cascading harmonic chimes while "Wrap" goes on the hypno offensive with its warm filtered loops and Detroitian rhythmic elements before "Springsdub" adds a little vocal uplift like it's 1998 all over again. Finally we have an accordion squeezing remix-supreme from Different World. No time lost here.
Review: This new Syncrophone sub label named For Those Who Know is dedicated to 'alternative sounds' and presents mysterious French dark ambient industrial act Dedale. Starting out with the morose and rolling dub textures of "Preface de 1977" and the the woozy heroin house of "(Le) mythe" on the A side. On the flip, there's some haunting retro coldwave vibes on "Structure" and Meandres" respectively. Also features some lovely artwork and design on the sleeve by Anne Raffin / Annomane. We certainly are curious to see what kind of obscurities this label brings to us next!
Review: Over the course of their ten-year career, Lyon-based band the Buttshakers has earned a reputation for being dynamic live performers, delivering a rocking take on funk and rhythm and blues shaped by their love of the late '60s garage-rock scene. Naturally, you'll find a few nods towards Sly Stone and heavy funk on Sweet Rewards, their first album for Underdog Records, but these fuzzy, life-affirming stompers are actually outnumbered by slick, sun-kissed soul numbers and pleasingly laidback jams. It's a mixture that works really well, putting them up there with such soul and funk revivalists as the Daptones and Will Holland's Quantic Soul Orchestra project.
Review: Two of Detroit's most influential movers and shakers, it's about time Di'jital and Maaco enjoyed some of the limelight usually taken up the city's larger than life DJ characters. Here we find them brewing up the clippy, clicky classic electro groove "Aliens N Effect". Uptempo and nagging with a deadly scratchy riff, it's an instant bodypopper. Comes complete with an instrumental, a dub and a technicolour revisitation of Di'Jital's 2006 workout "Armada."
Review: Active between 2006 and 2009, the Members Only series was essentially a homage to the days of Muzic Box and Ron Hardy from Jamal Moss which saw the Mathematics boss dramatically rewire everything from Loleatta Holloway to Chris & Cosey via Liaisons Dangereuses and Gil Scott Heron. The series has long been out of print, though a recent Members Only edit for the Brasserie Heroique series from Berceuse Heroique will have ignited some interest in the project amongst a new generation of collectors and selectors. This Editions Disco Vol 1 double pack should be viewed as a second chance to witness Moss doing disco edits in the manner they were originally intended. Moments of outright queasiness (the klaxon that runs throughout the Frankie Goes To Hollywood revision will really test a dancefloor's patience) sit alongside killer percussive disco cuts and wonderful oddness like the closing Banamarama edit.
Review: Prins Thomas has decided to shake-up the Full Pupp release schedule a little, launching the Full Pupp Splits series to showcase tracks from different artists on one slab of wax. For the first installment, he first turns to long-established label artist (and occasional Norwegian passport office pencil-pusher) Daniel 'Blackbelt' Andersen. His "Dolphin Sandwich" is a deliciously tasty affair, with bold but breezy synthesizer riffs, huggable grooves and yearning, sun-kissed chords. In contrast, newcomer Christian Engh offers up something darker, chunkier and more bass-heavy, drawing influence from both Dutch revivalist Italo and the analogue-rich Norwegian disco with which Lindstrom made his name.
Review: A new project based out of Copenhagen - Aether's Spring comes shrouded in mystery but makes a bold statement with this first transmission. WATER: Dancing Moon 12" leads in with "House In Blue Rain," a downcast track bathed in melancholic pads and blown out percussion around a steady 4/4 tick. "Dancing Moon" is a more kinetic affair that works with all kinds of synth shapes alongside some primal drum machine percussion that lends the track a new wave quality that suits it just fine. Closer "Throne Of Clay" spreads across the B side in a brooding, journeying epic fit for the likes of classic James Holden or a more wave-minded Jon Hopkins.
Review: This various artists compilation across two discs sees the Melbourne based house larrikins Sleep D curate some fab local and nationwide talent. It's best demonstrated on their collaboration with Cale Sexton "Strait Bass" - a serving of sublime acid-house infused balearica. Similarly Newcastle's Roman Nails works that little silver Roland box like a you know what on the dry and lo-fi "Fresh Fruit". Representing the new garde of the country's west coast (Perth) are Good Company's Phil Stroud with the polyrhythmic mayhem of "City Living", sonic terrors Senate with the frantic acid stomp of "Chambers" and the legendary Ewan Jansen: who presents yet more of his coveted retrospective works in the form of "Motif Of A Fish". Elsewhere UK transplant in Melbourne Kloke dons the Colours Of Infinity alias for the compilation's standout: the futurist electro fusion of "Frequency Shift".
Review: Scott Ferguson's highly collectable and mysterious concept was a seriously hot ticket with total anonymity running through the early releases. This ensured the full focus was on the vibes, grooves and dancefloor. Now, three years after the second EP 3, he gives the project one final hoorah with a signature range of physical late night styles. Ranging from smoky, slo-mo hypnotically plodding soul of "Track One" to all-out acid frazzles of "Track Three", it's a fittingly broad and on-point way to end a great concept series.
Review: Ben Westbeech continues to impress under the Breach alias, a pseudonym used for the Bristol producer's most dancefloor-focused material. In the past, much of this has been weighty and dancefloor focused, but in recent times Westbeech has served up far more melodious fare. "SOST", the track that opens the latest Breach 12", takes this approach, peppering a relaxed, funk-fuelled electro rhythm with cascading synthesizer melodies and attractively spacey electronics. The skewed deep electro vibe can also be heard on similarly attractive flipside "Turtle Dance", which fixes the far-sighted sounds of IDM/electro sort B12 to a rubbery synth bassline and punchy machine beats.
Review: Another year another Story and just in time, thank goodness! Following up a great one by New York City's James Duncan in 2015, this year's edition comes courtesy of a yet unnamed producer taking up the reins. But it's business as usual here on this deep and trippy collection of soulful KDJ inspired house jams. On the A side we've got the smoky "2" that grooves along with a simple rusty drum pattern accompanied by smooth clarinet and Rhodes elements, followed by the dirty analogue bounce of "Nothing Stays The Same". On the flip, there's the sexy late night mood lighting of "Freakin' It"; loved how stripped back and emotive this one was was. Finally "Raw Meat" takes it all the way home in slo-mo style, with those James Brown samples atop making a nice touch.
Review: Kouslin launches a brand new label and he's doing it total style. While no one can deny the crucialness of the name Le Chatroom, the real focus is on the music as the London artist tags up with two mates for a trio of far-out, forward-thinking bass/broken cuts. "Brothers" leaps with flautist delight while snake-like percussion rattles and rolls beneath. Aussie Nostro Hood winker Galtier gets his tech on with a Rolando style sense of melody and menace while Bumps man Sheik flexes a much slower jam, all 909s and raw machine soul. Covering corners you didn't even know existed, Le Chatroom has us in the palm of its paw.
Review: Amsterdam's Magnesii has literally sprung out of the shadows over the last few years and, although he (or she?) has preferred to keep the releasing schedule rather sparse, everything that's been released has been of outstanding quality. The producer's last two releases were Rush-House only specials, which made us somewhat jealous, but thankfully we've been well-stocked with this new EP for Raw Tools. "Fata Oasa" is a deliciously rolling house number, gilled with wonder and mystique, whereas "Building Ultrabot" takes a more mechanical, techno-ridden stance. "Euphoric 660" is a dirty, analogue house chugger with a toasty wave of synths spewing out from all angles, transformed and twisted into oblivion thanks to Antenna's remix. Classy tools.
Review: The Foster Jackson Group are one of those forgotten but highly coveted one-hit disco wonders that exist in the bottomless pit that is often classed simply as 'soul'. All that aside, these people made an incredible 12" back in 1979 that has been going for serious bucks on the second-hand market, but thankfully the prodigious P&P Records have saved the day yet again. "Feel The Spirit" is a devilish, inimitable disco jingle that is split between the more percussion ridden "Long Disco Version", and a more contained, more floor-focussed "Disco Version" They both contain that instantly addictive dose of piano, though. Check it out, you'll know what we mean...
Review: London's The Getup release their seventh release, this time for Saskatoon's' Funky Pops Records. Hammond player Mark Ashfield first met up with established funk musicians Mark Claydon (drums) and Ian Stevens (bass) and that's when the band was born. The past few years have seen them establish themselves in the national funk scene, playing many of the top venues like The Jazz Cafe and The Yardbird in Birmingham. Now they add Lee Blackmore on guitar and horns by Tristan Gaudion and Alex Harris. The Getup's sound remains firmly in the British camp - indeed they seem to have developed their own unique style and have been compared by many to an early James Taylor Quartet.
Review: This New York City based duo comprises Che Chen and Rick Brown, largely on guitar and drums respectively, and their inspiringly unclassifiable sound, influenced by Indian music and Mauritanian guitar work alongside the likes of The Velvet Underground and Bert Jansch, weaves a mantric tapestry that's as minimal as it is expansively majestic. These four lengthy excursions whir the listener into a drone-fuelled and raga-infused frenzy that's as likely to appeal to fans of Sun City Girls and Tony Conrad, packing an elemental charge that's as richly invigorating as any summer soundtrack you care to mention.
Review: Jorge Caiado certainly keeps busy. When not running the Carpet & Snares (and its affiliated shop), the Groovement label or doing A&R for Chez Damier's long running Inner Balance Music imprint, he's releasing some brilliant music - as heard on this year's Choice EP - one of our favourite records of this year. He now presents some new deep space transmissions via his Lisbon HQ, under new alias Conversion here and inaugurating the eponymous imprint. Reflective electro, Motor City techno and beatless trips are explored, dedicated to sonic excursions away from his housier roots.
Review: Chicago born, Brooklyn based producer Max Ravitz is quite known for his dusty goth(am) house and techno experiments; easily recognised by their brazenly compressed/saturated analogue aesthetic that sound like live jams. It's more of the same on his new offering: A side cut "Learned Behaviour" is the most 'straight-ahead' we've ever heard Ravitz with this tunnelling, hypnotic and absolutely heads down affair that soon evolves via some classic house chord progressions and mad 909 snare theatrics. The bittersweet and melancholic "Diminished Feeling" is more typical of his earlier style on such heralded EPs like his Opal Tapes debut Body Issues: the sound of a lonely Bushwick loft space on a Friday night. The lush and atmospheric "Looking Outside" provides a welcome ambient moment for this fine EP. Yet more fantastic work from him this year, following up the three part epic Several Shades of The Same Color on Ghostly International.
Review: A double dose of debut action here, as Chicagodeep delivers his first solo EP on freshly minted Mexican label Short Attention Records. The action begins with title track "Flying Waltz", a pleasantly fuzzy and surprisingly spacey affair rich in jacking machine drums, jammed-out Clavinet style synth parts and deep space electronic melodies. The vintage deep house dreaminess of "Control Substance" follows, before Chicagodeep flips the script completely on the formidably sweaty, full-throttle acid house/deep house fusion of EP highlight "Sofia's Rage". To round things off, the Mexican producer doffs his cap to the early days of Larry Heard's career on the poignant, '86 style Chi-town deep house clatter of "11th Chamber".
Review: If the smiley face clad centre label wasn't a sizeable enough clue, Happy Family is a new project from New York staples Eric Duncan and Justin Vandervolgen which sees the pair try their hand at acid house. Both are closely associated with disco edits of course, but if you've seen either DJ you'll know they are well up on all forms of dance music. This expertise is deployed perfectly on the two tracks here, with "Burnt" a relentless exercise in strobelit 303 madness that is a no brainer for the sweatiest part of a DJ set. They tone it down a bit on "Hard To Breathe" which despite the title is an altogether looser production with plenty of room between the tumbling drums and hypnotic lead synth lines.
Review: Cabaret Du Ciel are a sight for sore eyes around these parts! We're talking rare-as-hen's-teeth material here, and the sort of percussive ambient music that has opened the genre up to a new generation. Their debut album, from 1992, is entitled Skies In The Mirror and has undoubtedly stood the test of time - often sounding more fresh and innovative than plenty of music made these days. Italy's Hybride Sentimento has relaunched this magnificent LP, which takes you on a voyage of dusty percussion loops, ominous cold waves, and all sorts of otherworldly sonics. As a matter of fact, it also verges onto the dance spectrum, with tunes like "Hanging Wave" sounding more cutting-edge than the deepest, most twisted techno being made. If you're into doom, ambient, darkwave, or anything of that ilk then this is tailor-made for you. And, of course, it comes warmly recommended, too!
Review: Big bites as P Jam unite with Capo Lee for a beat hotter than Peri-Peri Vusa. Jam lays down a bouncy riddim full of character and cheeky trippy flurries while Capo gets down to business with a tale of a hectic schedule. Flip for an even spicier dish as the instrumental neck-snapper "Kumasi". Robotic, squelchy, bashy. It's the perfect side for the main banquet. Black card business.
Review: This colourful EP marks the debut of Funky Espresso, an Italian duo with a background in both DJing and live performance. Their dancefloor nous and instrumental skills hit home from the word go, when title track "Born For The Night" serves up a quirky and hugely entertaining mix of Afrobeat and eccentric lounge music. Sneaky disco edit crew Creative Source supply the scalpel work on the duo's loose and low-slung cover of Carole King's "Corazon" (though we're guessing they were paying tribute to LTG Exchange's superior later version), while "La Disco Francaise" joins the dots between Daft Punk's work with Nile Rogers and dreamy piano house. Finally, Je T'Adore is a sleazy Italo-disco treat.
Icicle & Proxima - "Outer Planes" (feat Ben Verse) (4:38)
Icicle - "Dust Me Off" (4:32)
Proxima - "Retrace" (4:33)
Icicle & Proxima - "Deep Dreaming" (4:12)
Review: Icy's Entropy imprint hits its second outing and he's brought along his equally talented and uncompromising cousin Proxima for the ride. "Outer Planes" (with ex Pendulum MC Ben Verse) kickstarts the adventure with grainy, scratchy bass while Icy goes solo for "Dust Me Off" with a lolloping, technoid hypnosis jam and Proxima gets squelchy and savage on "Retrace". "Deep Dreaming" maintains balance with a final colab between the two... And it does so with serious wind tunnel harmonic drama. Feel the burn.
Review: Little is still known about Butterfred besides the fact that their melting pot can withstand a lot of ingredients and influences. From lo-fi hip hop to grime to dancehall to UKG to bass to Detroit to bare naked experimentalism, the flavours are tangible. They also seem to be pretty prolific as this is the second album in less than a year. And, just like LP 1, it's a beguiling, far-reaching experience that spans from the broken b-boy grunts of "Make It Work" and "Now You Know" to the glacial slo-mo techno of "Magnesium" and the oceanic bliss of "Shove It". Vast and stark; we can believe it's Butterfred.
Review: Chicago producer M50, aka Area, and hypnotic techno don Donato Dozzy inaugurate new mysterious imprint Tesuji. On the A side Area tears it up on "Entireless," an industrial strength monster with grinding and razor sharp synth textures buzzing about the place in restrained fury and reminiscent of Regis or more recently Perc. On the flip Signor Dozzy serves up a surprisingly fierce yet restrained effort that's powered by all the atmosphere and tunnelling vision that he's renowned for. Sure he had to work some pretty intense source material, but he's no doubt made this one his own!