Review: There's something strangely alluring about this curious - but undoubtedly inspired - debut EP from Belgian producer Victor De Roo. While brand new, it draws influence from a variety of vintage styles - Berlin school ambient, new wave, The Duratti Column and leftfield European synth-pop, in particular - and sounds like it could have been recorded straight to cassette in about 1984. De Roo's quirky, atmospheric musical sketches - the slo-mo early morning dream pop of "Voorbenachte Rade", spacey synth-scape "Beland In Bed", post-punk Factory Records drone of "Nachtdichter" and beautiful opener "Gewoon" - all come accompanied by stylish spoken word vocals by fellow Low Countries resident Alex Deforce, whose Flemish drawl adds an extra layer of cultured artiness.
Review: Earlier in the year, modern minimal wave and coldwave hero Marie Davidson signed a high-profile deal with Ninja Tune. Here, she makes good on that contract, following a couple of killer singles with what could be her strongest album to date. After setting the tone with clandestine, tongue-in-cheek opener "Your Biggest Fan" - a creepy spoken word cut taking aim at stalker-line fans to the accompaniment of heavy analogue synth bass and creepy computer bleeps - Davidson giddily flits between elastic dancefloor workouts (the brilliantly sleazy "Work It" and mind-altering "Workaholic Paranoid Bitch"), attractive post-EBM instrumentals (the psychedelic and fizzing "Lara"), meditative ambient melodiousness ("Day Dreaming"), bizarre experimental weirdness (the suitable dystopian "The Tunnel"), and stylish analogue pop (the whispered vocals and off-kilter early morning funk of "So Right").
Review: Italians Do It Better are back with the romance nouveau of French duo Clara Apolit & Thomas Maan aka Double Mixte on their debut release. Produced by label head Johnny Jewel, this dark, romantic yet charming opus takes in aspects of Italo, synth-pop and cold wave across the EP's tracks, or what the label itself described so eloquently as a 'digital thunderstorm of neon lit noire'. The title track's subtle violence, featuring the throb of snarling Vitalic style arpeggios and rusty vintage drum computers supports Apolit's come hither vocal delivery. Mann takes centre stage on the brooding Giallo-styled slow burner "Arlette" (bringing on the sinister Argento horror film vibes) while glassy-eyed closer "November" heads towards a more ethereal direction.