Review: French producer 1977 aka Matsa, delivers a bold and subtle blending of ambient textures, deep pads and raw rhythms perfectly mixed with some minimal sequences. In Brief, a fine and complete piece of electronic music, made with constant attention to detail. Starting out with the hauntingly emotive ambience of "Tkg" where sub bass pulsations lurk between the crackling of surface noise, pitch shifted vocals and transcendental chilling pads, then the dusty and emotive deep house of "Soso" which is informed equally by Fred P as it is by the likes of Lawrence. On the flip, there's the rather Fred P sounding "Mondat" which is the highlight a smoothly emotive deep house number while "Toine" gets dubbier and subterranean in a way that UntilMyHeartStops fans will appreciate.
Review: Back to 96: The 4th Wave was a producer named Steve Paton. Also operating under aliases such as The Invisibles and Lo-Fi Sensibilities (when he appeared on Mo Wax), Steve didn't remain active for too long outside of the 90s but he left us two killer EPs. One on Planet E in 95 and this one on Kirk Degiorgio's Op-Art in 96. Reissued for the first time, and now featuring the twinkling downtempo delight "Lounge Music" (which was only ever previously available on a compilation), it's a powerful example of the Detroit/UK feedback loop at the time as both techno hubs were influencing each other. "Attention Please" rolls out the breaks, "Mean Streets" bites like a woozy UR record while "Cosmic Dance" whips up a tribal frenzy for the finale. 23 years old and still sounding future.
Review: Surface Records has never pulled any punches as one of the UK's toughest techno labels, and The 65D Mavericks have embodied the same spirit with their charged, lyrically provocative approach. After a lengthy hiatus label and artist are back in action, and sounding as fierce as ever. "False Prophets" is not for the faint hearted - an avalanche of thunderous drums and expletive-laden diatribes. "Cosmic Drift" is marginally more meditative, but still positively unhinged in its execution. "You Lost Your Mind" flails around a muddy, punky swamp of deviant sonic behaviour, and "Immovable (dub)" throws one last curveball into the long grass, stripping out the bark without losing the bite of this proudly individual group of techno marauders.
Review: After a successful debut release with Untitled Gear, Croatian label continues their journey through fields and forests. Still exploring the Russian Federation, only this time they hired Udacha's honcho and main protagonist A5. Record kicks off with 'Fantasy'. A dreamy kalimba piece which eventually evolves into a deep house track and could be described as a soundtrack from your latest dream while 'Raw Abstractionism' doesn't disappoint it's name. On the flip side we are introduced to the afro banger 'Torri Wowo' which feels almost like driving through safari on a truck. 'Acoustic Cut' calms things down and brings us to an end with a clear message.
Review: Mannequin boss Alessandro Adriani returns to Stroboscopic Artefacts with 'Embryo' - an immersive four-track micro-odyssey spanning across jagged ambient scopes,unmapped acidic grounds and further leftfield-friendly sonic territories, opening up the path for his forthcoming sophomore LP and first ever for Stroboscopic Artefacts, 'Morphic Dreams'.
Review: You can always count on Afrikan Sciences to flip the script with what you think soulful electronic music should sound like. Tearing the grid up and pinging off on a cosmic voyage in between the notes, this is futuristic, jazz-minded machine music of the highest order. "Reciprocess" is a shuddering, but surprisingly focused exercise in cracking open the house music structure, while "Hullman Z" gets into a brilliantly futuristic boogie. "Just In Case I Do" takes a more laid back approach without eschewing the essential dose of freakiness, and "Son Shine" takes things in an explicitly broken beat direction with spellbinding results.
Review: Thankfully, Richard D. James has decided to finally release at least some of the output that he's been banging on about since mid-2000s. In a number of interviews, the might Aphex Twin hinted that he has vast artilleries of tracks stacked up and unreleased, probably more on purpose than out of laziness...or maybe not. What we do know is that AFX is reborn after the string of acid 12"s released about 10 years ago on Rephlex, that saw the alias become one of the most popular of James' alter egos. Orphaned Deejay Selek is a collection of tunes that contain all of the Twin's magic and unpredictably, but that also cut straight to the point and head to the middle of the dance floor. This is banging brain dynamite coated in the man's iconic style and flair. Welcome back AFX, and many hats off to Warp for making it happen.
Illusions Of Shameless Abundance (feat Lydia Lunch) (5:55)
Alucinao (feat Estado Unido & FKA Twigs) (9:09)
Review: Hot on the heels of "2017-2019", his second album of angular, off-kilter electronics and mechanical rhythms work under the Against All Logic alias, Nicolas Jaar offers up a 12" containing two eyebrow-raising collaborative cuts. Legendary alternative artist Lydia Lunch, who also features on the album, pops up on A-side "Illusions of Shameless Abundance", adding a out there spoken word vocal - much of which is presented as a series of overlapping loops - to Jaar's skewed modular electronics and trippy, out-of-this-world sounds. Estado Unido and FKA Twigs lend a hand on flipside "Alucinao", providing gently soulful lyrical flavour to a distorted, thrillingly aggressive South American electro rhythm, sweaty pots-and-pans percussion and metallic melodic elements.
Review: Chicago label Chained Library present some contemplative minimal noise experiments courtesy of the mysterious Agnes who presents the 012016002001 EP and it is mastered by the one and only Rashad Becker: which is fitting really. Fans of Becker's recent works will really appreciate these extreme and at times challenging sonic workouts on both sides, approximately 15 minutes each. Both extended pieces are reductionist electronic sound art at its finest. Very intrigued as to what this imprint is up to next.
Review: If you were one of the lucky few to pick up the illicit compilation A Few More Things From Ivan Smagghe (And Friends) the dapper French selector put out a few years ago you should be familiar with this one. "Civil Defense" by Danny Alias first emerged in 1984, a strange proto-everything-that-has-come-since track which was spun by the great Ron Hardy and has been a long term favourite of Smagghe and his KTDJ cohorts. It gets another lease of life thanks to Smagghe and Leon Oakey's always entertaining Les Disques De La Mort label with no less than five different versions to choose from, including a re-edit from the aforementioned Ron Hardy.
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: There's a delightfully celebratory feel about this debut volume of Cititrax Tracks, a new 12" series from Minimal Wave offshoot Cititrax. As beautifully presented as we've come to expect, Tracks Volume 1 boasts a quartet of dancefloor-ready smashers from a blend of new faces and label stalwarts. Amato (aka The Hacker) kicks things off with the glistening EBM funk of "Physique" - all restless synth refrains and pounding bottom end - before LIES affiliate Tsuzing go all dark, psychedelic and twisted on the thrillingly intense, acid-flecked "King of System". An-I go all DAF (with a touch of Front 242) on the fuzzy and dystopian stomper "Mutter", before Cititrax regulars Broken English Club delivers a storming chunk of industrial-tinged analogue funk ("Glass"). Bravo!
Review: The latest outing on Vatos Locos' "Limited" series comes courtesy of Amo, an artist whose last solo outing - a decent but largely overlooked debut EP on Dissonant - was released way back in 2013. There's plenty to admire across the four-tracks, with opener "Find Turn" delivering an impressively deep, woozy and hypnotic blend of soft-touch electronics, drowsy, effects-laden vocals, dubbed-out aural textures and shuffling tech-house drums. Elsewhere, "Spitgame" is a more bass-heavy affair rich in wonky vocal snippets and bouncy drums, while "Whattosay" is a mind-altering chunk of early morning tech-house smothered in trippy electronics. To complete the package, Hector and David Gtronic join forces to deliver an off-kilter, club-ready minimal house revision of "Find Turn".
Review: Earlier this year Minimal Wave offshoot provided one of this year's most visceral dancefloor weapons in Kino-I, the debut from Doug Lee's new An-I project. Taking inspiration from techno, jack, industrial and punk, An-I successfully drew a line under some of the Berlin-based artist's previous disco-flavoured endeavours. And then some! If you like the Kino-I 12" you will love the new triplet of An-I productions housed on this appropriately titled Gutz 12". The title track alone should come with a health warning; such is the furious onslaught of machine funk it contains, whilst the unnerving "Rut" is the most schizophrenic production you will hear this year. Best of all id closing track "Save Us" sounds like a cross between in Aeternam Vale and Silent Servant. Pressed on a rather thick and dashing slab of magenta orange vinyl!
Review: Having previously offered up his raw, all-action experimental work on obscure or outdated formats, Anna Funk Damage (real name Andrea Natale) has finally released a 12" single. The EP is as intriguing and challenging as you'd expect, with the Italian noisenik flitting between skewed, sub-heavy electro-horror madness (crazy lead cut "Badass Bitch"), thrusting 8-bit industrial murk (the Cabaret Voltaire-meets-Nitzer Ebb-inside a Commodore 64 insanity of "Bloodydeath"), gabber-speed post trance mutant funk ("Elm Street (Faster Edition)") and sub-heavy body music that rhythmically has more in common with UK funky than it does DAF or Front 242 ("That's Why I'm Hot"), which also includes some shimmering, life-affirming synthesizer chords.