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: German label Ecke Records returns with its fourth release, following up some great EPs by the likes of Squallfront and Data Room. This one comes courtesy of Xantrax, who first appeared on the label's inaugural various artists compilation - and he certainly ain't messing around here. The Marseille-based artist is clearly influenced by UK bass, as exemplified on the down and dirty off-kilter rumble of "Tekline". He doubles down on that one, inviting a true legend of the scene on board: Addison Groove gives us a real trippy electro-bass rendition, delivered in his idiosyncratic style as always. Followed flip by the steely, street-level stepper "Linetek" and the intricate hypnotising riddims of "0121" on the flip.
Review: Valcrond Video presents the next work by sound and image artist Luke Wyatt, Songs From Bad Kid School.
On a high desert plain, inside a cinder block compound, a prank squad is incarcerated. Between fiddling with ninja stars and leafing through back issues of Fangoria, they find time to scrape out the soundtrack of their escape.
On the first track, heatsick guitars and steel wool beats suggest a landscape strewn with abandoned car carcasses, old Camaros left for dead in the sun, used for shotgun practice.
The B-side leads off with the beat-less, articulated sprawl of "Saline Flats". Here is the story of a desert search for water: figures warping mirage-like on the horizon as they make a confused journey over dunes, ending with a cathartic drone that suggests the mirages resolving into a real oasis. Though it is just as likely that the bad kids have expired from thirst, and ascended to the sublime.
Review: Typically, General Elektro isn't giving much away about the identity of the producers behind "new collaboration" Westend, or their aims for the project for that matter. Musically, it's a quietly impressive debut that features a sextet of tracks mostly built around gently undulating synthesizer arpeggio lines and moody electronics. Many of the tracks are stripped-back, hypnotic and beat-less, deriving their power from the relentless thrust of the arpeggio lines that ripple across the sound space. Others, meanwhile, include ghostly electro drums or, in the case of the bombastic "Track 4", the kind of no-nonsense, kick-drum-driven beats that were once a feature of the greatest Electronic Body Music releases.
Review: Marking the start of an exciting new collaborative project, Wolf + Lamb proudly share the debut release of The Waves & Us. Formed out of
a creative meeting of minds between Maayan Nidam, Markus Nikolaus and Louis McGuire, theirs is a sound that strengthens the storied
approach of a live band with the experimental thrust of analogue electronics. Pop and rock fundamentals lend an earthly hook to the
tracks, but these are anything but straight-forward songs.
Maayan has already forged a formidable career in electronic music, both under her own name and as part of Mara Trax, scoring releases
on such celebrated labels as Perlon. Markus performs his own solo project Cunt Cunt Chanel, while Louis is part of Ballet School, a band
releasing on noted indie label Bella Union. The whirlwind of creativity that has whipped up around the trio has yielded an album which will
follow this single, made up of one-take recordings that capture the energy and adventure that powers The Waves & Us.
Maayan's electronics provide the atmospheric backdrop to the songs, running modular synthesisers and drum machines through detailed
chains of processing and effects with an emphasis on a warm, charmingly rough finish. Markus' guitar undergoes a similar fuzzy treatment
while his voice calls out introspective, abstract lyrics to set the mind racing. Louis' bass underpins the music with a dubby sensibility,
bringing a necessary balance to the frequency range.
Making the most of their in-the-room recording approach, the singles will feature alternative takes of the songs that will appear on the
album, providing a little insight into the flutters and fluctuations that shape the development of this project. With their eyes fixed on live
performances and an arresting sound already formed, this is a vital time for all three artists and the people that listen to them.
Review: We're not sure of Waswaas's background or identity - The Trilogy Tapes has released no information about their latest signing - but this debut 12" is quietly impressive. Its five tracks tend towards the creepy and paranoid, with the mystery artist wresting maximum atmosphere and mind-mangling freakiness from what sounds like an impressive range of analogue and modular synthesizers. Some of it sounds like inspired Radiophonic Workshop soundtracks to a particularly weird lost episode of Doctor Who from the early 1970s, while other numbers are far more forthright and, frankly, chilling. It's a winning combination though, and one that we'd recommend exploring further.
Review: Blind Allies are an unstoppable force in the slimy underbelly of electro right now, and they're back with another shell shocker on the bounce from Zeta Reticula's "Sonic Assault". This time around Void Cells (Bristol-based Latvian producer Aleksejs Apolskis) makes a pointed return following the digital release Perception Model back in 2018. The drums rain down hard on this record, not least on punchy electro bruiser "SHE". NX1 offers up a rabble rousing techno twist on the original, before "Saturated Faces" opens up the B side with another fist-shaking slab of 4/4. Behind the grubby demeanour of the music lies some serious craft, making this a must-check for those looking in the more interesting corners of the electro boom.
Review: Relentlessly prolific Boris Bunnik brings his electro-focused Versalife alias to 20/20 Vision, a label which has been excelling at a renewed focus on the sounds of electro in recent years. The 808 beats are crisp and snapping, like they should in proper electro, but the synths shape out the atmosphere in brooding, dystopian strokes shot through with a certain mournful quality. It makes for engrossing, emotionally charged material perfect for the dancefloor as much as headphone reveries - just flip to the gorgeous "Aegis" and feel yourself drift away to somewhere mystical in the far reaches of the future.
Review: After years spent supporting the underground IDM scene digitally, Glasgow label Ambidextrous makes the leap to vinyl with this killer compilation of ear-catching deep techno and electronica. Christ brings a bubbling range of synth tones to "Rom" before Norken and Nyquist drop some brooding electro tones over rolling beats on"Od Detot". Solipsism has a more sassy house sound to impart, while Nyquist goes into full electro mode on his own. On the flip, Analogue Audio Association have some edgy acid to throw down, Cyan341 brings a touch of boogie flex to the record and Mich Chillage rounds the record off with emotive outboard electronics of a reflective nature.
Review: Acid Waxa drew plenty of positive heat for carrying Roy Of The Ravers amongst many other respected braindancers, but now Hot Chip drummer Sarah Jones is getting the remix treatment on the label for her Pillow Person project, with some wild results. It's great to see Bogdan Raczynski back in action and bringing some gently wonked, emotional acid meanderings to "On Your Way", while Lechuga Zafiro makes an art out of aping footwork, and more specifically "Footcrab" while making it sound like someone just stubbed their toe and got stuck in a loop. IYDES however turns "In My Game" into a deconstructed but utterly bloated pop beast, and then Oliver Coates whips "Go Ahead" into a woozy, highly strung daze with billowing synths underneath Jones' vocal.
Review: Despite suffering some significant losses in terms of infrastructure, specifically venues, the electronic music output of Glasgow hasn't faltered since rave first hit, and the city's current crop aren't letting the side down. Not that newcomers should really see 12th Isle as fresh faced; the ambient-downtempo-deep tech hypnosis crew have been doing all that and more for time already, with this 12" a fitting return to the release schedule. In the most part it's a tripped out, spatial and exotic EP. For proof, just check the solitary low ends of 'Mais Qu'est Ce Que', shuffling and breathy percussive roll on 'Spade Birthday', and the lush tropical vibes of 'La Plage Sous Les Arbres'. But there's also evidence of the more direct side this imprint and associated events are known for when you hear the progressive house heaven of 'Deep In Blue', a track that belies genre stereotypes by sounding fresh enough to drop into anything.
Review: After equally wonderful turns from Junto Club, Deeds and Curses!, emergent deviant disco denizens Snap Crackle & Pop invite a band called Uncanny Valley to offer up their unique brand of deathly wave music shot through with on-point beyond the grave vocals. "Chain Store" is a nightmarish march through wobbly synths while "Nowhere To Nowhere" plots a strident course with its bouncing beat and fulsome, undulating bass. "Popcorn" flips the script with its uptempo thrust, but the vintage synth-pop threads are still the dominant force in the music. Manfredas drops a remix of "Chain Store" that maintains the freakiness with a slow but heavy house lurch, and then Mondowski strips the meat from "Nowhere To Nowhere" and leaves a potent, skeletal club treatment behind.