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.
Don't Let Your Life Go By On Automatic Pilot (12:33)
Vesper Sprites (8:01)
Review: We all know anything released on Mystic Quantum is worth buying for the cover art alone, and this mightily impressive return of Legowelt is certainly no different. Beautiful on the inside and out, it's packed with the kind of delicately detailed soundscapes we've come to expect from the revered producer, who proves every bit of the musicality we associate him with across seven very good tracks.
'Squirrel' is perhaps the exception to the rule, its frustrated and distorted rumbling breakbeat and chain-gang high-hats cry out for some monster or other to be fed through the arrangement. On the whole, though, this is far from club stuff, opening on the lush bleeped harmonies of 'Once At The In & Out Burger Academy', closing out on 'Vesper Sprites'' mysterious, breathy refrains and metallic percussive accents, by way of the cinema-worthy piano piece, 'Meekian Lovedance'. Enough to keep you going until next month's album.
Review: If you were judging Kieran Hebden's 11th Four Tet studio album merely on the way it's presented, you'd immediately think he'd spent the last two years immersed in early '90s ambient house albums. While it's unlikely he's done that, it's fair to say that New Energy does owe a debt to classic electronica sets from that period. For all the exotic instrumentation and subtle nods to post-dubstep "aquacrunk" experimentalism and chiming, head-in-the-clouds sunrise house, the album feels like a relic of a lost era. That's not meant as a criticism - New Energy is superb - but it is true that his choice of neo-classical strings, gentle new age melodies, sweeping synthesizer chords and disconnected vocal samples would not sound out of place on a Global Communication album.
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: Detroit's Jay Daniel can no longer be referred to as a protegee. The Watusi High boss is very much a talent unto his own after forming a small but superb discography in the last few years. His latest outing is another exquisite mixture of his very real drum playing skills and an ability to coax real feeling out of his lush synths. After the ambiance of 'Muse,' 'Solo' sinks into a late night vibe with glowing pads and wooden hits making for a perfectly reflective mood. 'Dew' cuts more loose into ticketing drum work that is raw and off-grid, but again soften but those gaze-inducing pads, and 'Cherry' closes out with crunchy, dance floor ready grooves.
Review: This time last year, cult Munich label Public Possession showcased their more horizontal side on Chill Pill, a collection of immersive, enveloping downtempo tracks tailor made for sofa-bound after-hours listening. 12 months on they're at it again on Chill Pill II, a welcome sequel that's arguably even stronger than its predecessor. Ther are countless high points amongst the 19 uniformly excellent outings on show, with our picks including the weightless ambient warmth of Vanessa Worm's 'Onion Number 3', the sparkling, sunrise-ready joy of Occupanther's '4D Lemmings', the jaunty dubtronica of Secret Circuit's 'Under Mi Yard', the trippy spaciousness of JD Twitch's 'Jimi', and the sweeping, evolving electronic movement that is Apiento's fittingly titled '5AM Swim'.
Review: Kashual Plastik have offered little clues to the concept behind their latest compilation of experimental electronica and hazy ambient soundscapes. What we can tell you is that the limited-edition release comprises a single vinyl album and bonus CD housed in a screen-printed sleeve. More importantly, the music contained within is largely superb. There are nods to creepy horror soundtracks, '90s ambient, the Radiophonic workshop, the Buchla works of Suzanne CIani, mid-70s German kosmiche, sludgy post-industrial beats, discordant noise artists, bleeding edge electronica, sound collage and much, much more, all presented with love in the most pleasingly DIY of ways. It's a trip, and one you'll want to take time and time again.
Review: All three tracks here have a quality to them that suggests things could easily boot off at any moment, tension that rises and evolves and plays with intensity levels in very pleasing but never obvious ways. 'Psychedelic Frogs' is perhaps the best case in point, sending us spinning out into various cosmic realms that feel several planes above us. It's funk-disco-synth-leftfield business and we spent about an hour trying to come up with a more accurate, definitive description. We couldn't, which is indicative of what this sounds like.
Similarly label-defying is 'Gallium', a tune that seems to have been cut from the same cloth as 1960s spy themes and King of Woolworths productions. Closing out on the rumbling keyboard stabs of staccato builder 'Einstieg', it's not that they don't make them like this anymore, more that they have never really made much like this, period.
Review: True to their usual form, Krachladen Records serve ups big release that is split between Dusseldorf IDM masters Graph aka Stefan Jurke & Jens Beyer and A Rocket In Dub. This is the first in what is promised to be a new series that pops up a few times a year. Graph's 'Gowc Gowac' is a deadly dub with plenty of sci-fi motifs that help add to a feeling of revelation despite the heavy bass. 'Kon Konwac' is all whirring sounds, clacking hits and looped sonic freakiness that keeps you guessing. The three cuts from A Rocket In Dub all offer atmospheric dub with otherworldly found sounds that have you gazing on in awe.