Review: Back in 2016, legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen approached techno pioneer Jeff Mills with the idea of working together. A series of live gigs and off-the-radar studio sessions followed, with the first fruits of their joint efforts finally appearing on this must-have 10". As you'd expect, the duo's collaborative work combines Allen's traditional Nigerian polyrhythms, traditional Afrobeat instrumentation, and the far-sighted, sci-fi inspired electronic futurism that has always marked out Mills' work. The result is a quartet of cuts that could arguably be described as retro-futurist Afro-tech - all delay-laden beats, basslines and organs subtly sparring with gentle acid lines, Motor City electronics, beguiling deep space textures and shimmering, 31st century motifs. It's arguably Allen's stylistic contributions that dominate, but that's no bad thing.
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: More split action from STROOM, a label that has delivered some killer reissues of late. Heading up this double-feature is Icelandic producer Isar Logi Arnarsson AKA Cold, who offers us another chance to savour his 1995 Berlin Love Parade anthem "Strobe Light Network" - a 15-minute deep techno epic that boasts a lengthy ambient introduction, hushed and hypnotic grooves, undulating electronic motifs, ghostly chords and glacial, rush-inducing lead lines. Over on the flip, James Bernard takes over. "Lapis Lazuli" first surfaced on his 1997 album "Symphony For A Biomechanical Breakdown" and 22 years on it has lost none of its ghostly, otherworldly charms. A chunk of ultra-deep ambient rich in creepy melodies and psychedelic acid lines, it makes a near perfect B-side to Arnarsson's peerless classic.
Review: Alexis Georgopoulos and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma's Fragments Of A Season was one of the highlights of Emotional Response's output in 2017, centred around blissful, Balearic instrumentation that shone a spotlight on the considerable talents of these accomplished artists. Now the label is revisiting the material with a couple of finely selected versions, the first coming from Emotional regulars Woo, who dutifully inject "Marine" with their effervescent, otherworldly expressions and create a glistening masterpiece in the process. Felicia Atkinson then tackles "AA Cleo" and sends it out onto the horizon in a haze of reverb romanticism, muffled percussive rumbles and murmuring vocals.
Review: Existing at the interzone between Zurich, Berlin and Mexico City, Lustpoderosa serve up their fifth release here courtesy of trio Jack Pattern. Taking its cues from the early sounds of coldwave and industrial, the trio deliver a po-faced slo-mo groove on "Nella Notte", then give us the neon-lit and fishnet clad "Animal Transformation" calling to mind the early sounds of Severed Heads. There are some great remixes too, but our favourite was certainly by Sneaker (Ratlife / Uncanny Valley / Frigio) who delivered a trippy and hypnotic rendition of "Animal Transformation" that gets on a percolator style jack in the vein of Green Velvet and keeps those Jim Morrison like vocals to charming effect.
Review: And just like that, France's Kump label is born. The newly formed crew make for some pretty promising prospects if this debut EP is anything to go by, and they've started flying off our shelves with the same sort of zesty energy found across its five killers! Thankfully, this isn't yet another deep house joint and, one the contrary, it provides us with some seriously fresh strains of house music built for the next decade. Ricco's opener "Gilbert & George" is a punchy, mid-tempo pulser with a subtly acidic flow, and Pletnev's "Thunder" follows beautifully with the same sort of beat, but comparatively tamer harmonies. On the flip, Ju-Ju83 gets all sombre and industrial on "Untimely End", while "Nirvana" by Roe Deers offers a totally different sort of 'sad', and Markus Gibbs's "Dernier Souffle" manages to blend mid-90's acid with something that, well, we can't quite put our finger on...
Jochen Heym - "The Final Transmission" (Chip Tronic remix) (4:32)
Chip Tronic - "Dunkel 18" (5:21)
Review: German label Bombtrap Records have been operating sublabel Stonedwave since 2006. Restless Breed 3.0 is the next issue; a various artists compilation on the label providing you with a new bunch of material, showcasing the label on all sides. From the harsh and rusty electro experiment by Sane entitled "The Hangover" which will appeal to fans of sounds on Lux Rec or Clan Destine, to the gutsy electro bass onslaught of Chordata's "Silent Singer" which goes straight for the jugular. On the flip, we are treated to two cuts by Jochem Heyn. The mysterious newcomer treats us to the melancholic IDM of "Floating Soul" (reminiscent of early Autechre) while Chip Trnics "Dunkel 18" was best described by the label themselves as 'dark techno rhythms for wonky minds who love it more distorted.'
Review: The Sun God aka Hieroglyphic Being aka Jamal Moss is a difficult guy to keep up with, that's for damn sure. Spreading his signature trademark of gritty, fuzzed out pseudo-techno across so many aliases and labels, it's as if the dude is making music 24/7. For his latest excursion Mr. Moss appears as The Sun God - a tribute name to his idol Sun Ra - for Copenhagen's always-on-the-money Cejero imprint. The A-side, "Cosmic Chords One", is classic Moss with its stumbling, alcoholic drum pattern and beautifully distorted chords - one of his finest moments and surely the winner from this year, so far. The B-side, "Cosmic Chords Two" continues Moss' devious sounds but takes them onto more distant plateaus, where the beats have now fallen into place and the synths have taken a less abstract form. Warmly recommended.
Review: The Chilean producer based in New York City Nicolas Jaar presents his new album entitled Sirens. This is his first solo album since 2011's Space Is Only Noise LP and released on his own Other People imprint. Jaar has been involved in various projects over the years, such as Darkside (with multi-instrumentalist Dave Harrington), while last year he released Pomegranates, a collection of ambient tracks provided as an alternative soundtrack to the 1969 film The Colour of Pomegranates. The LP is six tracks that "flow seamlessly" between each other. According to a press release, the album is "Jaar's most topically cohesive and politically-minded record to date."
Review: With that excellent pair of remixes from Place No Blame's label debut last year still ringing in our heads, we've been awaiting new material from London's Japan Blues with a worrying level of anticipation. While his reworks of DJ Slyngshot's equally magnetic tunes saw the mask-ridden producer branch out onto new territories, this LP marks another significant change in his approach to releasing music. Sells His Record Collection, as with anything this man does, is an honest approach to sampling and a magnificent reflection of so many years spent digging through Japanese records. From folk dances, to soundtrack scores, and even glitchy waves of post-punk beats, this is an unmissable excursion into the most unknown territories of the music that the Far Easte Asian's island has to offer. There are few people who have taken such care, attention and dedication to bringing the listener a singular view of the country's music, and there is something in here for any serious music connoisseur's ears. Unmissable (and limited!).