Review: With nearly 40 years experience as a producer, having collaborated with everyone from Holger Hiller, Moritz Von Oswald and Juan Atkins among others, Swiss legend Thomas Fehlmann presents Los Lagos ('The Lakes'). It's his seventh solo full-length (and fourth for Koelsch institution Kompakt), following his Berlin inspired 2010 LP Gute Luft. The multi-talented composer and long standing member of The Orb embarked on a deep journey of soul searching while recording the album - and in the process incorporated elements of art, disco, minimalism, jazz and funk. A collection of glacial and textural dub introversions as best exemplified on "Lowenzahnzimmer" or "Morrislouis", but he also makes room for moments of pulsating hypnotic dancefloor dynamics ("Triggerism") and moments of lush ambient bliss reminiscent of his work with Dr. Alex Patterson on "Geworden".
Review: For his third full-length for the constantly enduring Kompakt label, Axel Willner has decided to take his enduring brand of Balearic loop techno to grandiose new heights. Sonically, the template remains the same - intoxicating layers of guitar, voice and ambient synth loops atop hypnotic dancefloor grooves - but the resultant tracks are just, well, bigger - cinematic, even. Given Willner's inherent skill at producing this kind of baggy, organic techno, the results are rarely less than impressive. As a result, Looping State Of Mind makes for thoroughly enjoyable listening, simultaneously appearing ambitiously big and pleasantly intimate. He deserves enormous credit for pulling it off.
Review: Originally released back in 1997 on the seminal (now defunct) imprint Mille Plateaux, Zauberberg was the second album by Wolfgang Voit under his Gas moniker and considered as his most foreboding piece of work since. This reissue on his own revered Kompakt comes on 180 gram vinyl featuring all seven tracks. Breathtaking drone excerpts and cavernous, all consuming dub techno journeys merge with awe-inspiring orchestral arrangements (samples from legendary composers such as Richard Wagner, Alban Berg, and Arnold Schoenberg) on this tremendous opus that remains an essential listening after all these years.
Review: On the back of Kompakt's expansive retrospective of his work under the Gas alias, the essential Box, Wolfgang Voigt has decided to deliver a new album - his first for 17 years. Predictably, Narkopop is as cinematic, widescreen and densely layered as anything the German ambient producer has done to date. Over 11 spellbinding tracks, Voigt blends field recordings and droning electronics with sweeping, almost orchestral movements, swirling melodic cycles, and occasional forays into rhythmic hypnotism. The result is a collection of "wall of sound" ambient compositions that does a terrific job tiptoeing the fine lines between both grandiosity and intimacy, and joy and pain. In a word: essential.
Review: On his previous albums, 1977 and 1983, Rune Reilly Kolsch explored different aspects of his childhood, delivering music inspired by favourite formative memories. Predictably, this third full-length also has an autobiographical bent, inspired as it was by what the Danish producer calls his "difficult early teenage years". As he was dealing with both puberty and the break-up of his parents' marriage, it's perhaps unsurprising that 1989 features more music that's melancholic in tone, with extensive use of evocative string arrangements, rough-round-the-edges synthesizers, yearning pianos and nods towards early German techno. Clearly, young Kolsch was prone to teenage mood swings, too, because there's also plenty of surging tech-house beauty and heartfelt dancefloor positivity amongst the glistening poignancy.