Review: Since it was Area that started the Kimochi Sound revolution just under a decade ago, it seems fitting that the publicity-shy artist has delivered the label's first release of a new decade. There are no new Area tracks here though, but rather a quartet of fresh reworks of classic cuts. Natan H kicks off proceedings with a deep, hypnotic, trippy and undeniably wonky revision of "Dare To Be Different", before Leif weighs in with a deliciously melodious, soft-focus revision of picturesque track "The Face Yours Reminds Me Of". Benjamin Brunn takes over on Side B and delivers two contrasting versions on "Effortlessness": the deep, wayward electro-meets-dub house drowsiness of the "Gold Plated Diamonds" mix and the heady ambient techno brilliance of the "Chrome Plated Diamonds" mix.
Review: New York's Black Dice had to land on their native LIES imprint at some point. It was only a matter of time before label head Ron Morelli picked them up, and he's done so in fine style. The American Tapes, DFA, and Paw Tracks casuals are made up of Eric Copeland, Aaron Warren and Bjorn Copeland, and the trio like to get a little wacky over their coldwave grooves. "Big Deal" is a true post-punk reincarnation, a track that manages to pick out everything that was right about the early 80's by adding in elements of noise, rock, and a little techno. A monumental tune. "Last Laugh" is more dubwise in its approach, where a distorted guitar sways from side to side amid a fuzzy whirlpool of aqueous sonics and dusty percussion. A great release from LIES, and a fresh addition to their more usual house and techno onslaught.
Review: A special release from Minimal Wave here as the uber rare Irene & Mavis EP from UK synth poppers Blancmange is granted a reissue! Those with a pub quiz winning level of knowledge of UK synth pop will no doubt be familiar with the 80s hits of Blancmange duo Neil Arthur & Stephen Luscombe, yet this debut EP dating back to 1980 will still sound revelatory. The self released Irene & Mavis EP marked Arthur and Luscombe to be fully willing to experiment with DIY electronics, impressing Mute founder Daniel Miller sufficiently to proclaim them "maiden aunts of electronic music," and thus more than suited as a subject of focus from the Minimal Wave label. There are definite similarities between this nascent stage of Blancmange and the output of Cabaret Voltaire from the same era, particularly in the masked and disembodied nature of the vocals, whilst "Holiday Camp" and "Just Another Spectre" are wonderful examples of instrumental synth music. Despite originally being released in 7" format, the six newly remastered tracks are presented here in 10" format by Minimal Wave with the distinctive artwork retained!
Review: Rated over the years by the likes of John Peel and Thom Yorke, Christoph De Babalon has been cooking up experimental jungle since 1994. He remains just as happily and securely on the bleeding edge now as he always has.... Make plenty of room for the thundering drums and unpredictability of "Could We Be?", the overwhelmingly dark and languishing intro on "Pure Dirge", the electrified drone and booming reese on "How Long From Now" in your sets. Then make plenty of room in your head for the woozy horns and skittering jazz drums of "Luxury Of Sadness". Immense innovation.
Flotation (Paul Woolford Special Request remix - Full Length version) (12:55)
Flotation (Paul Woolford Special Request remix - Richard Norris edit) (6:47)
Review: The Grid's 1990 track 'Floatation' is a stone cold post-rave comedown classic that epitomises the sound of chill out tents of the day. If anyone deserves to chill out a little right now, it's Paul Woolford, the hugely prolific beat maker, jungle mash up artist and bass face maestro who has put out multiple albums as Special Request in the last 12 months. Here he goes slow, deep and lush on his superb 12 minute version, with piano chords and breaking waves all soothing the soul. On the flip, Richard Norris, who was actually a part of The Grid, edits that remix into something even more smooth and sweet.
Special Long Version (feat Sue Tompkins - demo) (10:02)
Let Suffering Become You (2:46)
Review: We're not gonna lie when we say that we absolutely love Russell Haswell. The UK industrial misfit is among the few who can truly bring the heat in pretty much any situation he's in, or on any record he's unleashing his deathly twists of distortion on. Over recent years, he's struck up a winning partnership with Diagonal boss Powell, and together they've now racked up plenty of releases and DJ sets, both bashing out the hard gear on a constant basis. Haswell is back on Diagonal here, coming through with five harsh, penetrative tracks under the umbrella of Respondent. While none of these tunes could be classified as traditional techno, or even 'dance' music, they do contain enough movement to appeal to a very specific sort of DJ - the ones with the most cojones! This is classic Haswell material at its most cavernous. Recommended.
Review: Fresh from marking his return to wax with a limited edition dose of experimental jazz on 2 Headed Deer, Antonio Marini AKA Healing Force Project delivers a mini-album that joins the dots between that freewheeling style and his usual leftfield electronica, feverish ambient and mutilated techno. Compositionally, "Sideral Escape" is rather interesting, with Marini combining chopped and looped recordings of jazz instrumentation (double bass, drums, screeching guitars), with outer-space electronics, sparse drum machine beats, broken computer sounds and an impending sense of doom. It's hard to accurately describe, let alone pigeonhole, but that's no criticism; in fact, it's what makes it such an intriguing and enjoyable listen.
Review: While some of the hype surrounding Acting Press may have cooled in recent times, the Berlin-based label remains in rude health. That much is proved by this album-length double vinyl excursion from Intera, an all-star collaboration between PLO Man, Hashman Deejay, C3D-E. The trio starts in stunning fashion with the spaced-out, far-sighted dub techno/ambient fusion of "697", before brilliantly wrapping huggable, ultra-deep chords around a skittish techno beat on "463". They pay tribute to the glory years of Detroit techno on the all-action bustle of "548", while "653" sees them place bouncy, glassy-eyed riffs and Modem-style electronic sounds atop another retro-futurist techno groove. "414" is techno-funk after an extra-strong dose of shrooms and "410" is a superb ambient techno excursion.
Honourable, Dead Or Alive, When Following The Revolutionary Road (Arduous March version) (4:06)
Honourable, Dead Or Alive, When Following The Revolutionary Road (single Hearted Unity version) (3:21)
We Will Go To Mount Paektu (3:39)
Arirang (live At Kum song music School, Pyongyang) (2:19)
Honourable, Dead Or Alive, When Following The Revolutionary Road (live At Kum song music School, Pyongyang) (2:30)
We Will Go To Mount Paektu (live At Ponghwa Theatre, Pyongyang) (3:36)
Review: Laibach's new EP is made up of "unpublished tracks from the repertoire of the band's 2015 performances in North Korea". "Honourable, Dead Or Alive, "When Following The Revolutionary Road" are based on an aria from a North Korean opera written and produced under the watchful eye of Kim Jong Il, but Laibach's interpretation was deemed too complicated hence stricken from their show. It's presented here, however, with two takes on North Korean pop hit "We Will Go to Mount Paektu" along with folk song "Arirang" to make for a wonderfully exotic release.
Review: Bitter Lake Recordings out of Japan has secured something of a coup here by locking in the first ever official independent release of cult Japanese new wave duo Mikan Mukku, comprised of multi-instrumentalist Kotobuki Hikaru and vocalist Mikako Mihashi. Before now their material had only been available on compilations. Both of their only recorded tunes now standalone here - the first is the eerie, minimal and haunting "Kan" and the second is the more heavy and dark "Chindan" with big brash stabs and stiff drum patterns making for a leftfield cold wave classic.
Review: Talk about the power of pure rhythms. 'Yek 166-3', to reference just one of four iterations here, is as propellant as anything you're likely to hear in a club, but if heard mid-party would be one of the most challenging curveballs you could ask for. Comprised entirely of tribal-like top end percussive structures set at breakneck pace, it's a great place to start with this release overall - a package that's as much about artistically accomplished complete tracks as it is providing workable elements for use in something larger. A DJ's delight, this isn't to say all four arrangements don't deserve to be heard individually. '134-17' growls and shimmers in a way that's subtly complex, ideal for headphone or big rig play. '128-10' is more about poised dark tech atmosphere, while '127-17' exists within looser frameworks, leading to more serene and relaxed results.
Review: If you are lucky enough to have visited Dusseldorf club Salon Des Amateurs, you may be familiar with one of its residents, the cultish Serbian DJ Vladimir Ivkovic whose daring sets are inspiration to another of the venue's stars in Lena Willikens. Often Music is Ivkovic's new label and their first release shines a light on the unreleased archives of pioneering Serbian electronic artist Rex Ilusivii, real name Mitar Suboti?. The Serbian artist sadly passed away in a studio fire in 1999 leaving behind a vast number of unreleased works recorded over a decade from 1980 onwards. Six of those rescued tracks feature on this double 12" release In The Moon Cage (side 4 houses an etched illustration) and the more daring selectors out there will find them quite inspirational.
Review: Shielding's Innerlig is viscous, densely detailed, trippy music. Dripping with texture, these are supple tunes that generously expand to fill whatever space they're in, loops stretching towards the lilac virtual horizon. Constantly mutating rhythms, heavily atmospheric grooves. RIYL Harmonious Thelonious, Jan Jelinek, Theo Parrish.
Review: Music From Memory are spending some time exploring the world of music created for dance and performance. There's a common interest in experimentation between the mediums, but not at the cost of musicality, which comes here with a distinct 80s veneer. Gerard Stokkink has a thread of drama and poise about the vivid synthscapes of "Yellow Turtles" while the self-titled track from Ivory Playground calls to mind the delicate fingerpicking guitar you might expect to hear from Alexis Georgopoulos & Jefre Cantu-Ledesma. Atlantis Transit Project have a heavier tribal lilt to the percussion on "Bird Perspective", and Ramuntcho Matta's "Zoique III" holds a mirror up to the freaky disco drum work of Jan Schulte and Niklas Wandt.