Review: Battista, John Swing and EMG's first hook-up under the SPS moniker - the thrillingly hard-to-pigeonhole Sintomi Di Gravita 12" - was arguably one of 2014's most slept-on records. Here they join forces for round two, delivering another two tracks that neatly sidestep the accepted norms of house and techno. A-side "Movimento (Consico Mix)" is a wonky chunk of well-swung, jazz-flecked deep house, smothered in filters and tipsy chords. Flip for the Inconsico Mix of the same track, a brilliantly far-out fusion of odd electronics, glitchy rhythms, shimmering synths and bubbling found sounds. It's hardly dancefloor-centric, but it's certainly really, really good.
Review: Early in the year, forthright lo-fi techno experimentalist Delroy Edwards released an eccentric, 22-track, download-only album called Rio Grande. Here, he makes some of the highlights of that set available on vinyl for the very first time. It's an intriguing and largely enjoyable affair throughout, with the sometime L.I.E.S man following the glassy-eyed, recorded-from-the-radio Balearic warmth of "When I Think" with the stripped-back, noise-laden jack-track "Sugar Shack". These kinds of juxtapositions continue throughout, as Edwards flits between sweet and tactile downtempo doodles (see "Rio Grande"), clattering proto jack-tracks ("Let It Rock!") and hissing 1980s deep house bliss (the woozy brilliance of EP closer "Wild Illusions").
Review: As part of Mura Oka, Louis Vial has already been spotted on the excellent Latency label as well as delivering a solo EP to Collapsing Market earlier this year. He once again dons his Eszaid cape on this release for the equally fine Meandyou stable, tapping into the labels predilection for obscure variations on the fringes of house and techno. "777,7" is especially captivating in its insistent cyclical minimalism, drilling straight for the subconscious, while "Eyeless Mannekin" sets adrift in aqueous climes for a proper floatation tank dub techno immersion. Using subtlety as a powerful tool, Eszaid ably matches up to the quality that has come before on Meandyou.
Review: Before you dive headfirst into this one it's probably worth pointing out 'Pitturamusica' is as much an academic exercise as it is a complete album. There are moments of such heartbreaking beauty you feel genuinely touched to the core - the sweet, sombre and hushed strings of 'Corpopaesaggio', for example. But then the artists make no secret of what the record was designed to do, namely use the basis of Musique Concrete to see what lies down some pretty abstract roads. Whether processing human voices to within one iota of coherency, as on the frenetic 'SB', or captivating listeners with the intricate flutes of 'Conchiglia', it's safe to say they make more than a few intriguing discoveries. At times these are challenging and somewhat chilling ('Apollo'), in other moments the white noise, crackles and found sounds seem to celebrate the chaos of life itself ('Venere D'Urbino').
Review: Important Records recently described this release as featuring "two sound poems". There's certainly something poetic about the fluid ebb and flow on both pieces, both of which were crafted with the use of analogue and modular synthesizers and tend towards the epic. On the A-side you'll find a new piece by Italian sound designer and composer Caterina Barbieri. "Bestie Infinite" somehow manages to be both mournful and strangely positive, with fluctuating modal melodies slowly emerging from the backbreaking weight of Barbieri's droning chords. Minimal analogue synthesis specialist ELEH handles side B, casting a spell via held church organ chords, off-key melodies and cascading electronics on stunning, 16-minute opus "Wear Patterns".
Review: Alexandra Drewchin's work as Eartheater reached a wider audience when it landed on Pan last year via the head-spinning "IRISIRI" album. Now she returns to the label she first emerged on, Hausu Mountain, for a reissue of her 2015 album "Metalepsis". It's a surprisingly direct record, even as it swerves from folky incantations to pastoral techno ruminations across nine bold and distinctive tracks. Both ambitious in scope and focused in execution, it's a perfect companion piece to "IRISIRI" that points out the skill and versatility at the disposal of this most crucial of contemporary artists.
Review: The ever reliable Macadam Mambo returns with the second opus of Eiger Drums: featuring more oddball grooves of the ambient/krautrock persuasion by Louis E Bola. He's one half of Lyonnaise outfit The Pilotwings in collaboration with musicians Geddes Hadden, Arthur Tempo, Akino Karma, Sound Of Duty Free & Pierre Mortimer-Dubation. A more dancefloor oriented album than the previous outing, reviving early new age/trance aesthetics with tribal influences. From the lo-slung weirdo folk of "The Sun", or "Astral Lights" with its exotic psych-drone aesthetic through to the steely slo-mo post punk of "Astral Lights" or the horror movie vibe of "The Moon" - be prepared to get weird on this one!