Review: Original music from Vancouver based producer NAP has been intermittent on the electronic music scene, but now the Isla boss has finally dropped a 12" of deadly, textured and fresh-sounding electro for our bodies and minds. "Transhumano" features ZDBT and has all the hallmarks of Stingray-friendly future shock machine funk, but the particular approach to pads and melodies has a distinctive, moody slant that chimes with the hazy sound of Canada's West Coast. "Anestesia General" is another needlepoint, uptempo workout that packs layer up on layer of darting rhythms and blippy synth lines into the mix. "Sin Sistema" completes the set with a more subdued but no less detailed box jam workout.
Review: Destination San Francisco: Artikal snap-up Saule for his debut EP release. Long-time selector but an emerging producer, he's pushing all the right buttons here. Opener "Zeroes" is all flabby moving subs and shimmering theremin harmonics, "Baro" hits with more of an industrial twang in the percussive textures without losing any sense of warmth, trippiness or weirdness (watch out for the danked-out breakdown, though). The final shots are fired on "Pistola" as things take an even stranger turn; tones melt, drums turn into pistons and the sub wobble is off the chain. From "Zeroes" to heroes - this one is a keeper.
Review: Central Processing Unit chief CP Smith is keeping tight-lipped about the identity of the shadowy producer(s) behind the Secret State project. Smith describes this debut EP as "an attempt to rise above the all-pervasive, vacuous, decaying culture." We'll let you judge whether the men or women of mystery have succeeded in that aim, but we certainly think it's a fine EP. By CPU standards, it's a rather eclectic affair, flitting between druggy, arpeggio-driven alien funk ("CIA UFO Google Search"), ghetto-tech influenced deep electro (the wonderful "De-Pattern"), sparkling dacenfloor electro positivity ("The Sleep Room") and glistening, bass-heavy techno/proto-house/deep house fusion (sublime closer "Weep For Joy").
Review: New label Pointillisme Music return after some great releases by Disuasiv (Andi Parlogea & Dragosh) and the always impressive Ukrainian KiRiK. It's now over to Esoteric Workshop, who has released previously on Sensual and 87 Records and rest assured that the Zern EP certainly follows in suit. Starting out with the deeply hypnotic subtlety of "Travers" featuring a gentle broken beat, emotive pads and tripped out atmospherics: this one ticks all the right boxes. The remix of said track up next by Anestie Gomez stays faithful to the original, but gets dubbier by injecting more tempo and shuffle into the rhythm complete with a rolling bassline which works even better. On the flip, the mysterious producer experiments further with broken beats, like on is the classic Chicago deep house sounds of "Loren" and then back to four/four with the tough, electro-infused analogue driven groove of "Sera".
Review: Credo boss Alex Bau returns with some deep dub techno excursions on the fittingly titled Echo Echo imprint - a new Echocord sublabel. With previous releases on top labels like CLR, Kombination Research and Cocoon - you can trust this veteran A.M. specialist. From the glacial and cavernous "Clouds" and the introspective dub of "Contour" nailing that Basic Channel vibe of old. On the flip, we get two versions of "Zenstory". The first (prelude) being a chilling ambient version while the second is a stripped back epic that builds full of tension and suspense throughout.
Review: All good things come to an end. Part ten of ten in Ostgut Ton's tenth various artists' compilation and they've recruited some of their superstar residents to give their very best. Marcel Fengler's restrained fury on "Fallin' (feat. Elif Bicer)" almost sounds like something off the soundtrack of a sci-fi film where dramatic elements face off with Bicer's angelic voice. Etapp Kyle's "Nolah" is another example of his well executed hypnotic techno with a nod to the master himself Robert Hood. Finally Steffi's "Loweborschtel" is the kind of surefire sub-aquatic electro funk and the standard in quality you'd always expect from the Dolly boss.
Review: Alexis Georgopoulos, aka Arp, is based in Brooklyn, New York. Drawing on elevated kosmische atmospheres, minimalist classical composition, library, glam and leftfield disco influences, he has released music on RVNG, Beats In Space, Type, Opal Tapes and Emotional Response plus presented in galleries and like MoMA PS1 and the New Museum. A mutant offspring of diverse stylings, 2018's expansive Zebra LP is a post-everything symbiosis of ancient to future psychotropics. Using forward-looking production techniques, the album is a vast, shimmering prospect that emphasises points of connectivity, and pleasantly disrupts outdated boundaries between musical traditions, hierarchies and genre politics.
Review: Callum "Paleman" Lee is one of Swamp 81's most decorated artists, having released a string of well-regarded 12" singles for the hyped, bass-obsessed imprint. Yrs Ago is his third EP for the label's 81 offshoot, and sees him joining the dots between techno, post-dubstep bass music, and angular electronica. The title track sets the tone, with robotic voices, creepy electronics and smooth sub-bass riding a metallic, broken techno groove. Flipside "Animus" is a marginally more melodic affair, with spacey chords and bubbling arpeggio lines riding a punchy electro rhythm. Both tracks are naturally rather heavy, and undoubtedly amongst the producer's strongest work to date.
Review: Recently seen moonlighting under the Sexazoid name on Sling and Samo's excellent Born Free label, Arvid Wretman returns to his more familiar project, Your Planet Is Next, on a rather fine debut for Studio Barnhus. Some four tracks deep, the YPIN adopts a charmingly naive approach to the tropes of early Chicago house, from the title tracks ("Do You Want To Freak?") to the usage of vocals throughout. If you're not familiar with Wretman's previous work as Your Planet Is Next then this single should demonstrate there is a real humour discernible in his music. Crucially, it is also perfectly suited to the dancefloor and DJs will love the chance to throw some of these charmingly obscure vocals into the mix. Fans of Legowelt check this!
Review: German producer Martin Matiske has been sporadic in his appearances dating back to 2002, but when he releases a record he makes it count. Following previous turns on International Deejay Gigolo and Stilleben, he now brings his fulsome electro sound to Vivod sounding fresher than ever. "Die Nibelungen" draws on a fine tradition of German electronica while using that mechanical melancholy you might find in a Bochum Welt track. "Bayerischer Wald" is a cheery synth-pop celebration, and "Virtuosic Mechanic" is a more snappy club track with plenty of Bunker-friendly darkness packed into its bones. "Kammermusik" cools things down with a lovely meander through plaintive bleep lines and plastic synth leads.
Review: There are many things that make Sons of Kemet a unique proposition, not least the London jazz combo's unique musical make-up (saxophonist and main man Shabaka Hutchings is joined by a tuba player and two drummers). There's also the small matter of their music, which goes above and beyond the traditional confines of jazz. On 'Your Queen Is A Reptile', Hutchings and company go even further, delivering what one critic described as "party music with a purpose". In reality, that means a selection of scorching tracks rich in dueling drum-work, booming tuba basslines and fizzing sax refrains, many of which touch on a combination of heavy Afro-jazz, spiritual jazz, New Orleans brass bands and even the guttural pulse of British bass music. Impressive stuff, all told.