Review: Boom! Finally another reissue of Boards Of Canada's seminal Hi Scores LP from 1996! Along with the likes of Aphex Twin, LFO and Squarepusher, these guys have helped to define how we see electronic music today and this particular LP is arguably their most complete when it comes to the dancefloor. The title track is a twisted, floaty bindle of breaks and beats, but it doesn't end there. Tracks like "Nlogax" are inherently Detroitian in nature thanks to the bleepy drum machines inside, and all we can say is that if you haven't laid hands on this album yet, you shouldn't miss the opportunity to cop it now. It's still so relevant and contemporary, it hurts.
Review: After years spent offering up impressive blends of ambient, drone, electronica and experimental drum and bass as ASC, James Clements has decided to commit more time to Comit (sorry), an alternative project which first surfaced via a debut single in 2016. Here the San Diego-based Brit delivers a first full-length excursion under the alias. There's plenty to soothe and seduce on the eight tracks stretched across two slabs of wax, from the undulating, occasionally skittish beats and sweeping chord sequences of opener "Behind Dulled Eyes" and the icy, doom-laden electronic melancholy of "Reverie", to the early Black Dog Productions flex of "Clouded Over" and the dubbed-out, slow motion bliss of "Soft Focus".
Fernando Falcao - "Amanhecer Tabajara (A Alceu Valenca)" (3:58)
Anno Luz - "Por Que" (4:55)
Andrea Daltro - "Kiua" (5:50)
Os Mulheres Negras - "Maoscolorida" (3:53)
Bene Fonteles - "O M M" (3:16)
Carlinhos Santos - "Giramundo" (2:45)
Priscilla Ermel - "Gestos De Equilibrio" (9:03)
Carioca - "Branca" (5:04)
Marco Bosco - "Sol Da Manha" (4:43)
Maria Rita - "Cantico Brasileiro No 3 (Kamaiura)" (4:10)
Marco Bosco - "Madeira II (Mae Terra)" (2:37)
Priscilla Ermel - "Corpo Do Vento" (15:45)
Luhli E Lucina - "E Foi" (3:57)
Review: Music From Memory has a reputation for doing the unexpected. It would be fair to say that few would have predicted the Dutch label's decision to release a collection "electronic and contemporary music from Brazil". As usual, the Red Light Records affiliated crate-digging crew has done a superb job with Outro Tempo, which was compiled by label affiliate John Gomez. Musically, it's predictably varied but always beautiful. It mostly focuses on tracks that fuse traditional Brazilian instrumentation, percussion and musical ideas, with elements of electronica, ambient, jazz-fusion and Reich style minimalism. The accompanying liner notes do a great job in putting the collection in context, explaining how the music was often inspired by political changes within Brazil during the 1980s.
Little Birds, Moonbath (feat Michelle Helene Mackenzie) (6:06)
Tipu's Tiger (feat Pender Street Steppers) (10:11)
Of Yesterday (instrumental) (5:37)
The Ultimate Which Manages The World (4:40)
Words Without Sound (6:09)
Review: With a drowsy, loved-up trademark sound that sits somewhere between the beach, bedroom and the dancefloor, Canada's Yu Su is a great fit for Music From Memory offshoot Second Circle. The resultant EP is arguably her strongest to date. She begins by enlisting the help of Michelle Helene Mackenzie, who provides a drowsy spoken word vocal on the ultra-deep and starry brilliance of "Little Birds, Moonbath". Fellow Vancouver residents Pender Street Steppers lend a hand on the deep and picturesque shuffle of "Tipu's Tiger", while "Of Yesterday (Instrumental)" sees Yu Su wrap meandering synth solos atop hazy chords and gentle tribal drums. Elsewhere, "The Ultimate Which Manages The World" is dubbed-out and effortlessly Balearic, while "Words Without Sound" offers up more intricate hand percussion and some sparse electronic elements.
Review: Emotional Response do a great service here to all lovers of braindance craving new fixes since Rephlex shut up shop. Brainwaltzera's debut EP Marzipan was a self-released concern that sold out quickly back in 2016, meeting with emotionally charged responses from those wanting to nab a copy. Now it's more widely available, the gorgeous lilt of bubbling 101 melodies and delicate drum machine patterns can spread their wings and bring some healing vibes to a broader audience of electronica devotees. Coming on with the sensitivity of Wisp and other contemporary braindancers, this is how comforting home listening beats should be done.
Review: Are there two more consistently - and rightfully - fawned over names in electronic music than John Peel and Aphex Twin? A coming together of two giants is always going to be worth hearing and so this second Peel Session recording proves. One of only two radio broadcasts Richard D. James recorded as part of a special set of radio themed vinyl releases from Warp, it's hypnagogic electronic pop meets ambient techno on this instalment with the trademark timbre and tonality of James lighting up each and every track in ways that are somehow both heavenly yet of high physical impact.
Burning Down The House (feat George Clinton) (3:03)
Spontaneous (feat Little Dragon) (2:11)
Pilgrim Side Eye (1:30)
All Spies (1:45)
Yellow Belly (feat Tierra Whack) (3:07)
Black Balloons Reprise (feat Denzel Curry) (2:52)
Fire Is Coming (feat David Lynch) (3:23)
Inside Your Home (1:14)
Actually Virtual (feat Shabazz Palaces) (2:06)
Remind U (2:42)
Say Something (1:16)
Debbie Is Depressed (2:19)
Find Your Own Way Home (1:35)
The Climb (feat Thundercat) (3:19)
9 Carrots (feat Toro Y Moi) (3:01)
Land Of Honey (feat Solange) (3:27)
Thank U Malcolm (1:32)
Hot Oct (4:10)
Review: No less than five years since his last mind-busting opus, "You're Dead!", the one and only FlyLo finally returns with a staggering new album. At this point all bets are off as to which direction the visionary beat scene maven will take his stellar sound, and true to form "Flamagra" departs from solid ground quicker than you can shout "lift off". From arrhythmic spirituals to futuristic soul, the Cali man known to his family as Steven Ellison has never sounded freer in his sound. The cast of guest spots is off the charts as well - George Clinton, Little Dragon, Solange, David Lynch and Anderson .Paak are just some of the dazzling talents involved. Need we say more - take a trip once more with one of the 21st century's most visionary producers.
Review: As part of their on going series of special vinyl releases of radio broadcasts from days gone by, Warp this time turn to a special Peel Session put together by Boards Of Canada. Covering plenty of ground from the deep and chugging dream-techno of "Happy Cycling" to the archetypal IDM squiggles and kinetics of "XYZ" via the sort of brain cleansing alpine purity of ambient beauty "Olson". Opener "Aquarius" sounds almost balearic in comparison, with little guitar riffs, smeared chords and sampled vocals that bring to mind the finest post-rave work of Orbital.
Review: Karen O and Danger Mouse are both serial collaborators, so when this joint album was announced we weren't all that surprised. Even so, we never thought the resultant set would be quite as good as this. Atmospheric, rich and full of songs that variously touch on sweeping cinematic soundtracks, driving Motown soul, fuzzy funk-rock, vintage trip-hop and hazy electronica, "Lux Prima" manages to showcase the best of both artists' talents while refusing to settle on one neatly defined sound. The set's dizzying highs - particularly the near 10-minute title track - are almost breathtakingly good, and there's enough jaunty moments to offset the heart-aching melancholy and emotional pain that's barely concealed throughout.
Review: Since the dawn of the decade, A Winged Victory For The Sullen has delivered occasional albums for Erased Tapes that effortlessly blur the boundaries between ambient, electronic experimentalism and emotion-stirring neo-classical music. "The Undivided Five" marks their first appearance on mighty British independent Ninja Tune, and seems a little more grandiose in scale and ambition than some of their earlier outings. It was recorded in eight different studios around Europe, with the pair combining atmospheric orchestration and traditional instrumentation with occasional glimpses of modular electronics. It feels like a stunning soundtrack to a movie we've not yet seen - unsurprising given that they have previously composed a number of scores - and genuinely gets better with each successive spin.
Review: As Warp gears up to celebrate its 30th birthday, it seems fitting that the label should be putting out a fresh album from one of its longest serving artists. As Plaid, Andy Turner and Ed Handley played a significant role in defining the label's approach to electronic music during the "Artificial Intelligence" era in the mid 1990s. All these years on, they're still capable of crafting fizzing, melodious, off-kilter electronic listening music that defies lazy categorization. "Polymer" is a hugely enjoyable and entertaining set, with highlights including the jumpy beats, post-electro melodies and mind-altering acid lines of "Los", the metallic bounce of "Maru" - a kind of twisted take on Afro-tech that's amongst their most club-ready cuts of recent times - and the disturbed, Autechre-style clang of "Recall".
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: Trailed as a direct sequel to his previous solo album, 2017's "Avanti", "Volume Massimo" sees Nine Inch Nails member Alessandro Cortini offer up another immersive trip through droning guitar textures, repetitive synthesizer motifs, exotic sitar parts and fuzzy electronics. It's effectively a series of "maximal" instrumental soundscapes with sounds so large and layered they rise above the "meditative" tag pushed by Mute's PR team. This is no criticism, though, just a reflection that while contemplative at times, one of the most joyous things about the album is Cortini's ability to build thrilling walls of sound.
Review: Jazz-man Greg Foat has always been more open-minded and eclectic than many give him credit for, delivering nods to pastoral folk, movie soundtracks and library music amongst his more jazz-focused output. Even so, "Photosynthesis" is still a curveball, featuring as it does drowsy and mostly leisurely soundscapes that move from Radiophonic Workshop influenced weird-outs and mutant lounge music, to stoned horizontal grooves and post trip-hop soundscapes. Interestingly, some of the album's standout moments come laden with woozy electric pianos and the kind of hazy, slow motion guitar motifs that evoke mental images of long, drawn-out sunsets.
Review: It's always good to see a split release from two artists whose track records (no pun intended) make it very difficult to predict where the new wares will fit. Which is exactly the case with this one, given K15's oeuvre name-checks imprints like Wotnot Music, Eglo and Wild Oats, while SMDB has appeared on Funkineven's Apron and the always great Lo Recordings in recent years. Needless to say, then, if we can rely on one thing it's that everything on this expansive, obscure collection of curveballs will be deep and richly textured. From 'Pace & Time''s downtempo barroom jazz, to the shuffling broken beats and waves of synth on 'Dry Mango (Part 2)', the confusing beat structures and delicate piano play of 'Earth State' to 'Syntherlude''s beat-less, science fiction tune up, it's all well made stuff.
Review: De:tuned are in the midst of a 10 part anniversary series, and this latest missive - the seventh in all - brings together a hefty selection of talents old and new on heavyweight vinyl. Jonah Sharp opens things as Spacetime Continuum and continues to fuse ambient, techno, and IDM on the absorbing cosmic adventure that is "Only One Sky." Scanner's "Mothlit" slows things down with a hip hop instrumental from outer space, and then the beats disappear altogether on Ross 154's suspensory ambient cut "Earth To Our Friends." Lastly, Leo Anibaldi's "Crion" will make your skin tingle with its deft and delicate melodies which float about like fireflies and leave gorgeous, glowing trails in their wake.
Review: Under the SolarX alias, Roman Belavkin was one of the leading lights of the Russian IDM scene in the mid-to-late '90s, though very few copies of his cassette and CD releases ever made it in to record stores outside the former Soviet Union. Furthermore, this is the first ever reissue of Belavkin's 1997 sophomore set, "X-Rated", an album that remains a firm favourite in the Russian electronic underground. There's much to admire throughout, with Belavkin effortlessly joining the dots between the skittish, angular rhythms of Autechre, Rephlex-esque "Braindance", Aphex Twin style ambient, early Squarepusher-esque "drill and bass" business and hypnotic ambient techno.
Review: Staggeringly, "What A Mess!" marks Pepe Bradock's first full-length excursion for over two decades. As you might expect, it's unusual in the extreme, with inspirations including a "special diplomatic elephant" and a sound shaped via "a few mundane terms, picked randomly, then coupled with frequencies chosen in a spontaneous way for their presupposed properties or synchonicities". Musically, the LP stretches one continuous suite of title-less tracks over two sides of vinyl, with Bradock cannily combing far-out ambient sounds, deep space electronics, off-kilter rhythms, layered spoken word snippets, mind-altering lo-fi bass and deliciously weird experimental electronics. It's akin to the sort of fuzzy, out-there sample collage you'd get on a Tolouse Low Trax mix tape, but that's no bad thing. In fact, it's a very good thing indeed.
A Caged Bird/Imitations Of Life (feat Roots Manuva)
Wait For Now/Leave The World (feat Tawiah)
The Workers Of Art
Zero One/This Fantasy (feat Grey Reverend)
A Promise (feat Heidi Vogel)
Review: Given the rise in popularity in new school jazz in recent years, it seems a fitting time to welcome back Ninja Tune stalwarts The Cinematic Orchestra. "To Believe" is not only their first album in some seven years, but also one of their strongest releases to date. Opening with the poignant neo-classical/soul fusion "To Believe", the set sees Jason Swinscoe and company attractively saunter between jazz-electronica fusion (Roots Manuva collaboration ("A Caged Bird/Imitations Of Life"), pastoral jazz epics (the sunset ready epic that is "Lessons"), gentle downtempo songs ("Wait For Now/Leave The World"), ambient jazz ("The Workers Of Art") and slowly unfurling dancefloor workouts (killer closing cut "A Promise"). In a word: stunning.
Review: Canadian composer Mort Garson enjoyed an eclectic career, though in electronic music circles he's most celebrated for a string of experimental electronic albums he produced using early Moog synthesizers. "Mother Earth's Plantasia" is a bizarre but brilliant beast: a 1976 set that was designed to be played to plants to help them grow (really) and was given away free at a Los Angeles garden store. As this first ever reissue proves it remains a dizzyingly far-sighted set. Sometimes symphonic, occasionally spacey and always intoxicating, much of the material is far quirkier than contemporaneous synthesizer-fired sets. Highlights include the pulsing ambient spaciousness of "Ode To An African Violet", the twinkling, cascading beauty of "Rhapsody In Green" and the jaunty cheeriness of "You Don't Have To Walk a Begonia".
Review: On his second album titled Siku, Ecuadorian producer Nicola Cruz continues his exploration into ancestral Latin American cosmology, as well as expanding his vision towards new stories and other cultures as sources of inspiration. The title is named after a wind instrument of Andean origin, highly symbolic in ancestral rituals. Cruz merges electronic and organic elements with symbolic/spiritual connotations, plus studies of the samba, cumbia and rhythms of African, Andean and Hindu origin. Hypnotic electronica merges with the folkloric on the title track and "Senor De Las Piedras", traditional music is respectfully explored on charming vocal-led tracks like "Hacia Delante" (with Chato) and he goes deep into the jungle on exotic journeys like "Obsidiana".
Das Neue Japanische Elektronische Volkslied (7:57)
Plastic Bamboo (6:27)
The End Of Asia (6:21)
Review: Ryuichi Sakamoto was still in the early days of his career when second solo album, "Thousand Knives Of", appeared in 1978. It was recorded around the same time as the formation of the band that made him famous, Yellow Magic Orchestra, and contains a similar reliance on cutting-edge electronic instrumentation. Of course, there are still pieces that doff a cap to his classical roots - see the piano-heavy "Grasshoppers" - as well as workouts that join the dots between jazz-funk and German style "kosmiche" ("Das Neue Japanische Elektronische Volkslied"), but for the most part it's the entirely electronic tracks that hit home hardest. For proof, check the jaunty genius of "Plastic Bamboo", the prototype YMO electrofunk of "The End Of Asia" and the doom-laden weirdness of "Island Of Woods".
Review: When it comes to crafting distinctively off-kilter "ethno-techno" built around hypnotic, polyrhythmic drums, there's nobody quite as good as Florian Meyer AKA Don't DJ. Further proof of his majesty in this regard arrives via "Eternal Return", the epic, peak-time-focused opening track from the producer's latest double-pack excursion. Those seeking percussive, floor-friendly fare should also check "Circular Time", another bongo-laden tribal techno workout that sees Meyer get locked into an attractively organic drum groove for the best part of 12 minutes. Meyer's ability to conjure up odd but brilliant home listening fare is explored elsewhere on the EP, with the noisy, abstract weirdness of "Perpetual Flow" being joined by the chiming, hedgerow-fresh ambient bliss of awe-inspiring closing cut "Perseus-Pieces".
Review: 12th Isle's latest must-check chunk of entertaining experimentalism comes from Lo Kindre, whose dub-wise 2017 debut on Optimo Music was arguably one of that year's most overlooked EPs. "Chlorophytum", the producer's first solo missive since then, is another lo-fi electronic dub treat. Of course, it's not all gentle bass-heavy rhythms, endless delay trails and cute electronic melodies - closing cut "For Sleep" is a buzzing electronic raga, for example - but it's on these bass-heavy excursions that Lo Kindre most frequently hits the spot. Highlights include the extraordinarily sub-heavy shuffle of "Sounder", the ambient dub wooziness of "Aibell" and the creepy alien-dub oddness of "No Hiding".