Review: Ole Mic Odd aka Michael Padgett is a hardware operator and DJ from Los Angeles and runs the wonderfully named label The New U.S. Government. Here he sweeps to power with four tracks across four sides of vinyl for the Zement label, two following a slower, punishing pulse that's like P-funk remade in a robot factory, only with tons of added bubbling acid, Drexciya-style filtering and Juan Arkins-like synthetic strings. The other two are way faster, Ice So Bright sounding like someone secretly spiked Kraftwerk's cocoa with something extremely sinister, sending them racing off on their bikes at treble speed. Echo Park has an even more distinct flanging acid flavour and hyper, hooligan electro foundations, again with those Model 500 misty clouds of synthesiser floating overhead. Absolutely cracking stuff.
Review: The fourth album from the English pop experimentalist was made over just six week in a "do-it-yourself" collaborative process with her fans. It is inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown and was executively produced by A. G. Cook and BJ Burton. Fans and critics alike fell immediately in love with the record which was also shortlisted for the 2020 Mercury Prize. Edgy experimental production and hooky pop songwriting have rarely collided as successfully as they do here, with plenty of hyper-energetic sounds and shimmering synths, bubblegum bass and mechanical motifs all making this as much an impromptu mixtape as a studio album. Truly, this is a work of its time.
Review: This collection of the Aussie funk and soul band The Bamboos' favourite cuts is a celebration of their 20 year anniversary. It culls cuts from 2007's Rawville and 2010's 4 and is a limited release with a full colour gatefold sleeve. Led by guitarist and main songwriter/producer Lance Ferguson, The Bamboos have been hugely prolific over the years, putting out no fewer than nine studio albums, two live albums, twenty-seven singles, and all while serving up many incendiary shows. They draw in elements of funk, pop, rock, psych, hip-hop, indie and soundtrack music into their own unique sound.
Review: Seven months on from the label's last outing - a suitably trippy, acid-fired four-tracker from Justin Robertson's Deadstock 33's project - Tusk Wax returns to action with a fresh album from synthesizer fetishist and Giallo soundtrack specialist Antoni Maovvi. The Berlin-based Bristolian is at his atmospheric and far-sighted best, offering up a range of synthesizer and drum machine-heavy compositions that sound equally as good at home as they do in clubs. Highlights include - but are in no way limited to - the glistening, guitar-laden mid-80s bubbliness of 'Emotional Trigger', the hard-wired Italo-disco sleaziness of 'Disaster Code', the organ-laden horror-house of 'Insider', and the ever-rising starry brilliance of the album's standout moment, closing cut 'The Circle Remains Unbroken'.
Reinhard Vanbergen - "Blast From The Past" (edit) (4:15)
Jacob Gurevitsch - "In Search Of Lost Time" (Danilo Braca remix) (8:16)
Bongo Entp - "Soul Drums" (5:03)
Islandman - "Dere Boyu" (6:00)
Review: Kenneth Badger's Music For Dreams label has been at the heart of the ambient, Balearic and world music revival of the last few years. His own distinctive take on the genre is particularly soothing and cathartic for the soul and this Summer Sessions special for Record Store Day is another blissfully escapist collection. The boss himself kicks off with a gentle roller that takes you out to sea, and The Swan & The Lake keep you drifting without a worry in the world on an ocean of synth purity. Reinhard Vanbergen brings some exotica to the collection with his 'Blast From The Past' and Bongo Entp's 'Soul Drums' soars on some perfect trumpets.
Review: You wait three years for a new Arca album and then two come along at once. The Barcelona-based, Venezuelan artist has already dropped 'Kick I' and 'Kick II' on his standard XL stomping ground this month, and has now decided to remind us why we fell in love in the first place. &&&&&& is the producer's seminal debut album, and it still sounds fresh today.
Occupying a space somewhere between techno, the proto-footwork and juke popularised by the likes of Addison Groove at the turn of the last decade, IDM and ambient, it's a difficult thing to get your head around, from the strange piano discordance of 'Mother' to 'Feminine''s suggestion of intense 140s and the submerged liquid downtempo of 'Anaesthetic'. A seminal moment in recent dance history.
Review: Powell's work has been described as 'jerky electro' by some critics, which isn't to suggest he's a jerk. Instead, it's because things often sound, and feel, unpredictable. Rhythmic patterns aren't quite what they seem, if they even really exist, time signatures can jump around without warning and production rules are, generally, given short thrift. Nevertheless, his work is always pleasing to hear.
Flash Across The Intervals takes that mantra and reduces it to the bare minimum, and yet there's nothing restful about the tracks. In fact, as the staccato distortions and whirs of the opener shows, there's actually a lot happening. 'Performance To A Harsh Critic' is perhaps the most track-y track, in terms of construct, but even this is really about experimenting with textures of noise, with highly sensory results.
Review: The music of Maltese producer Rudi Agius aka Jupiter Jax has become a staple of 100% Silk's catalogue over the last several years. His new LP No Such Thing is inspired by notions of escape and the unknown, incorporating the dexterous live instrumentation of flutes, trumpets, voices and percussion, with elements of electronica, downtempo, jazz, house and Balearic. From the cinematic brilliance 'No Such Thing pt. 1', the early Chicago house vibe on 'Moods No Grooves', to the particularly emotive 'Breathing You Out' or the glassy-eyed and bittersweet dancefloor drama of 'Solace' - overall, it is what the label best described themselves as a "Mediterranean midnight of the mind."
Review: Carpets & Snares returns to action with some jaunty, off-kilter club fodder from their friends in the Portuguese tech-house community. This time round, the producer at the controls is Pandilla Ltd, an artist best known for unleashing 12"s full of tactile glitch-funk on his self-titled imprint. The real killer here is opener 'Bleu', a gloriously jumpy, shoulder-swinging fusion of tightly snipped electric piano stabs, jazzy synth-bass, Akufen-esque drums, curious vocal samples and oddball percussion sounds. Dan Andrei provides the obligatory flipside remix, re-casting the track as a deep, low-slung chunk of analogue house haziness perfect for wonky late-night sessions and bleary-eyed after-party shuffling.
Review: Since first emerging in 2018, Carpet & Snares sub-label Dream Ticket has become a reliable source of far-sighted fusions of acid, electro, techno, IDM and breaks. The imprint's latest missive, which comes courtesy of former Further Records, X-Kalay and SURVIVE Ltd contributor Pearl River Sound (real name Roberto Semeraro), conforms to type by delivering a quartet of cuts that draw on all those styles and more. The Portuguese producer is in fine form as he flits between hip-hop influenced IDM warmth (the Artificial Intelligence-era melodiousness of 'Topoplove'), Black Dog style angular, analogue electronica ('Biblio Time'), filthy, hard-wired acid insanity ('Just Fucking Days Without You') and skittish, up-tempo acid-electro (the Rephlex style brain-dance madness of 'Digiana').
Rockaway Beach/Teenage Lobotomy/Blitzkrieg Bop/I Wanna Be Well/Glad To See You Go/Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment/You're Gonna Kill That Girl/I Don't Care/Sheena Is A Punk Rocker/Havana Affair/Commando (23:14)
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow/Surfin' Bird/Cretin Hop/Listen To My Heart/California Sun/I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You/Pinhead (26:04)