Giant Swan – Earn (FuckPunk)
Coming bruising in from a modest background in the fringes of Bristol’s noisy electronics community, Giant Swan make their presence felt in a most intimidating of ways with this single for Ossia and Vessel’s FuckPunk label. “Earn” is everything an industrial strength techno track should be, teasing in on a bed of droney malaise before the monolithic beat wallops down in a fit of synthetic cyberpunk brilliance. There’s plenty of Ministry-flavoured sleaze oozing in between the drums too, adding a certain fetishistic kink to the proceedings before the post-apocalyptic mantra of the beatless B-side. This is definitely the introverted cousin of the club baiting lead, but it’s a powerful piece in its own right, make no mistake. While they may not have been familiar to many beforehand, this is the kind of track that will announce Giant Swan’s sinister intentions to many, sure to grace a shedload of record bags in the techno, wave and EBM fraternity.
Huerco S. – For Those Of You Who Never Have (& Also Those Who Have) (Proibito)
While his release rate may be relatively modest compared to some, Huerco S has become something of a prominent figure in his five years of visible activity. That’s helped no doubt by the labels he has chosen to work with; from Software to Opal Tapes, Future Times and so on to Anthony Naples’ Proibito. His is a very personal sound that wriggles between the gaps where house music and experimental fare meet, finding solace in strange textures and odd rhythmic phrasings that shouldn’t quite work, but invariably do. What the producer leaves out in terms of immediacy is more than made up for in terms of emotion and invention, creating a distinct musical language that conveys all manner of melancholia in a most wonderfully beguiling of ways. On this, his second album, Huerco S goes ever further out into his own territory, and makes for pleasant company should you choose to join the ride.
Aleksi Perala – The Colundi Sequence Volume I (Clone Basement Series)
Swathed in the occult murmurings of the Colundi movement spearheaded by Rephlex Records’ Grant Wilson-Claridge, Aleksi Perala represents the most prominent artistic exponent of a theory that places importance on specific frequencies, with various suggestions of the benefits they bring. After some limited releases, Clone take up the mantle and present some of this work to the world, and if you’re already a fan of Perala’s limber electronica there’s a chance you’ll dig this as well. The melodies certainly chime with a sense of the unusual and otherworldly, while the drums pirouette and flair with the deftness the man formerly known as Astrobotnia has made his name on. This is advanced and adventurous techno, just like it was always supposed to be. When there’s this much of it to enjoy across three discs as well, what else could you ask for?
J Zbel – Hyena Sticks Head In Elephant’s Butt (Brothers From Different Mothers)
Not known for subtle track titles already (given the last 7” How I Made My Mom & Sis' My Sexbot Slaves
) J Zbel returns to Brothers From Different Mothers with a more fulsome representation of their sound. Looking past the japes of the presentation, the tracks themselves are not to be messed with, fusing all the best elements of ferocious party material into a crafty, knowing blend that points to serious studio skill from this somewhat unknown producer. There are elements of classic techno and breakbeat flitting around in the relatively friendly “Diablo Verde”, while “Nem De Porc” ups the ante with some monstrous break rips and bass swipes. “Logan Dub” is more of a psyched-out cut, but then “Lauren Mysogyn” comes stomping in atop a gabba steed with no plans on taking any prisoners. Some audacious tempo switch ups and choppy edits abound, making for the kind of track to create circle pits on the dancefloor.
Roger 23 – Extended Play (Ilian Tape)
Ever the elusive chameleon, Roger 23 makes an unexpected landing on Ilian Tape having flitted from label to label without a discernible pattern to follow. Out of such movements are interesting artists made, and so after a couple of 12”s on Bio Rhythm last year the German artist touches down on Planet Zenker with a varied record that continues the theme of unpredictability. There is one fully formed club jam on here, the downcast electro of “Solitude”, but elsewhere the mood is distinctly experimental. There is a great metallic clang to “Meister Zugmaschine”, while “Low Reshape” is a masterful slab of reverberating dub sound design, and “Day 1” plays the tender card so well. This record will do nothing to make Roger 23’s path through music clearer, and with an artists such as this that’s just fine.
Eric Holm - Barotrauma (Subtext)
A solid force behind the Subtext label that not many people know about, yet, is Eric Holm. The London-based American made his storming debut in 2014 with the Andoya
album which impressed us enough to place in our end of year lists. Holm’s ability to combine the visceral nature of wild landscapes like the Arctic circle with electrifying sound design has been plunged miles into the depths of Norway’s frozen fjords on Barotrauma
. To call this new opus a submerged version of Andoya
would be a little cheap, but it should paint a pretty good picture of how things sound. Caustic abrasion has been smoothed over due to the nature of where the source material was recorded, deep deep underwater, however Holm’s fledging sound is there to be heard through fizzes and crackles like before, and it’s the best album of ambient techno submersion since last year’s Periksop LP. Suddenly DeepChord doesn’t sound so deep.
David Toop - Entities Inertias Faint Beings (Room40)
Writer of books and maker of albums, ambient academic and exotica enthusiast David Toop releases his second LP of 2016. This time it lands on fellow field recording buff Lawrence English’s Room40, and Entities Inertias Faint Beings
turns in 10 tracks (as opposed to two long form compositions for Sub Rosa) of sounds you’d expect from someone who’s authored titles like Ocean Of Sound
, Haunted Weather
and Sinister Resonance
. It’s an album which implores you to listen, imagine and experience musique concrète in a way that’s intertwined with orientalism and avant garde classicalism. Add field recordings you’d imagine someone like Chris Watson sourcing from Mars, and John Cage’s prepared instrumental techniques with sombre acoustic plucks and twangs, and you have a whole new world to explore – proper Wire
Leonardo Martelli - Previsto (Antinote)
Before we dive into the ever-expansive world of Antinote's ability to unearth singular talents - Nico Motte, Iueke and Syracuse to name three - a tip of the hat must be tilted toward Rimini label MIXED-UP. It was there Leonardo Martelli first surfaced with the impressive Distanze II
cassette, and following another tape on Drvg Cvltvre's New York Haunted label it was Antinote that provided the Italian with his vinyl debut. This album, Previsto
, delivers everything there is to like about Martelli's lo-fi sound, a producer who collides strokes of Actress-looping beats and sidechains with shady tones of moody house and disgruntled warehouse techno. It's an album that crosses genres while disguising them all the same time, with tracks like "Previsto" referencing spaghetti western themes while offensive Notorious B.I.G.lyrics can be made out under the pressure of industrial rhythms in "Negli Abissi". And as always, striking artwork.
Din A Test Bild - Programm 1 (Mannequin Records)
Something one Juno Plus
staffer has long championed as never being reissued is Din A Testbild, a band founded by Einstürzende Neubauten’s Gudrun Gut that once called Tangerine Dream’s Klaus Schulze a member. Thanks to Mannequin's Alessandro Adriani pilfering Berlin's flea markets, he came across Programm 2
, one of three Programm
LPs to be released in the early-'80s, with the Italian revealing to us plans
to issue a never before released Programm 4.
As the story goes, Programm 4
was rejected by Schulze's Innovative Communication label, "probably cause they were looking for some new age shit," suggests Adriani, and now after 30 years of not one reissue, the trailblazing Din A Testbild are ready to breach a new audience. If you're a fan of No More, this is something we suggest, with "No Repeat" from Programm 1
a Juno Plus
Senking - Waiting Alpine (-ous)
Pretentious, maybe, but why not write about a silver Senking 7" if you could? Released on Zurich and Milano-based label -ous, the new operation established itself last year with an album from Bit-Tuner called A Bit Of Light
. Senking, of course, is known for his output on Raster-Noton first and foremost, with 2010's Pong
LP earning him most acclaim, while Jens Massel's latest release was last year's Closing Ice
album. This Waiting Alpine
two-track sees Senking up to his old tricks, combing woofing burst of chunky electronics mixed with reverberating atmospheres and some handy 606 work giving passages of A-side "Jacket Cool Down" a Nine Inch Nails feel. Futuristic gothic industrial techno for 2016 without dreadlocks or ripped t-shirts.