Review: DJ, producer, multi-instrumentalist, singer... Kalabrese's talents know no bounds. Naturally his range is equally bountiful, but nothing in his past discography matches the colour, warmth and scope of this extensive second album. Ranging from the WhoMadeWho style lollops of the title track to the ghostly Blakey echoes of "Das Haus Am Fluss", the Zurich-based artist has polished his technique with finesse. With a delivery that's not far off a young Byrne, and an ability to conjure up some very interesting studio sounds (case in point: the fluctuating bass on "Makossa"), Kalabrese has hit a rich vein of form. Available as a special gatefold vinyl and CD package, this is a very wise investment opportunity.
Review: Kris "Karizma" Clayton doesn't do things by halves. Wall Of Sound is his first full artist album since his 2007 debut A Mind of His Own and in CD format features a slightly daunting 39 tracks spread across the two discs. This accompanying double vinyl release pares down the tracklisting considerably but still brandishes some fifteen cuts, ensuring it's still quite the epic and will take a few plays to truly get your head around its intricacies and stylistic shifts. It's safe to say, though, that it's a pretty tasty set, effortlessly flitting between soul-flecked instrumental hip-hop, broken beat, intense percussion workouts, slick US garage and deep house in all its forms.
Review: The fourth release on Partisan is something of an epic, with German producer Segej Kaschawar serving up nine tracks over two solid slabs of wax. There's much to admire throughout, from the dark web-goes-tech-house throb of opener "Resonate" and funk-fuelled late night dancefloor hustle of "Zero Gravity", to the Drexciyan electro bounce of "Orbitbass" and the low-slung shuffle of "Lakeside Trouble", where spacey motifs and wonky electronics cluster around a swinging, broken techno groove. Also worth checking is the pitched-down, acid-flecked IDM psychedelia of closer "D3H" and the angular, UK garage-influenced deepness of "Radical Ambient" (which is so radical that it's not ambient at all).
Review: The growing influence of Vancouver tape label 1080p can be discerned by this vinyl issue of Hello World by Khotin. Originally released in limited cassette format by 1080p earlier this summer, Dylan Khotin-Foote's album makes a welcome transfer to vinyl courtesy of Berlin label Fauxpas and will certainly appeal to fans of Mood Hut - and particularly Jack J. Hello World is something of a simple triumph with tracks - usually built around the wonky swing of old drum machines - that are melodious, positive and understated, with a tuneful, laidback feel. There's plenty of uncomplicated deepness, too - see the winding haziness of "Fight Theme" and the muted electro shuffle of "Mornings" - as well a particularly jacking chunk of deep Chicago goodness ("Nakhodka").
Hardsoul - "Back Together" (feat Ron Carroll - Director's cut Classic club mix) (8:33)
Spencer Parker & Dan Beaumont - "The Look" (Director's cut Signature mix) (7:59)
Review: This second round-up of high quality tracks and remixes by Frankie Knuckles and Eric Kupper's Director's Cut project is as loved-up and action-packed as its predecessor. It begins with versions of the pair's re-recording of Knuckles' classics "Baby Wants To Ride" and "Let Yourself Go" (the latter a breezy and summery piano-house treat), before offering up a soulful singalong with Inaya Day and a stomping disco-house cover of Sylvester classic "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)". Record two offers up some of their hard-to-find remixes, with the pair's Lou Rawls revision and soaring version of Hardsoul and Ron Carroll's soulful house classic "Back Together" standing out.
Review: It's been a long time between drinks for Chris Korda, a transgender artist and activist whose last releases of note came on famed electroclash label International Deejay Gigolo way back in 2004. New album "Akoko Ajeji" is very much a surprise return to action, though its melodious, ear-pleasing and accessible blend of house and techno drums, digital synthesizer sounds and cheery post synth-pop refrains is both striking and hugely addictive. Korda's compositions offer subtle nods towards various vintage house and techno styles - particularly turn-of-the-90s deep house and early Chicago jack - but never sound anything less than thrillingly DIY productions giddily made in back rooms and bedrooms over the last decade and a half.
Review: Last year Kornel Kovacs returned to his "beautiful, boring" home city of Stockholm, citing a need for both "friends and inspiration". Duly settled in his old apartment, the Studio Barnhus co-founder surrounded himself with collaborators (primarily Matt Karmil, jazz musician Niclas Skagstedt and female vocal duo Rebecca and Fiona) and set to work on his second album, "Stockholm Marathon". The resultant set is impressive, with Kovacs offering up a range of ear-catching vocal and instrumental tracks that brilliantly fuse elements of spacey deep house, mutant R&B, leftfield synth-pop, lo-fi electro, tech-jazz and glassy-eyed electronica. More often than not the collaborations with Rebecca & Fiona hit the mark (see "Club Notes", "Purple Skies" and "Marathon"), but there are plenty of other highlights elsewhere on the album.
Review: 'The Man-Machine' is closer to the sound and style that would define early new wave electro-pop. Less minimalistic in its arrangements and more complex and danceable in its underlying rhythms. Like its predecessor, 'Trans-Europe Express', there is the feel of a divided concept album, with some songs devoted to science fiction-esque links between humans and technology, often with electronically processed vocals ("The Robots," "Spacelab," and the title track); others take the glamour of urbanization as their subject ("Neon Lights" and "Metropolis"). Plus, there's "The Model," a character sketch that falls under the latter category but takes a more cynical view of the title character's glamorous lifestyle. More pop-oriented than any of their previous work, the sound of 'The Man-Machine' in particular among Kraftwerk's oeuvre had a tremendous impact on the cold, robotic synth pop of artists like Gary Numan, as well as Britain's later new-romantic movement.