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: 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: 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: Gravity Graffiti present more mesmerising sounds from far-flung reaches, this time showcasing the music of debutant Thai producer Anurak Boonliang. According to the label, Boonliang is steeped in classical Thai music training, and now applies his background to drum computers and synthesisers. The results are astounding, characterized by nimble melodic and percussive programming that moves between regimented rhythmic shapes and more free-flowing patterns with grace and elegance. "Reality" brings Boonliang's roots into focus with a field recording of what we assume is a traditional Pi Phat musical ensemble. If you're in the mood for fresh electronics unbound by the familiar structures embedded in Western culture, look no further.
Review: Speak to anyone who lived through them about the glory days of IDM and German producer Arovane (aka Uwe Zahn) is probably one of the first names they will happily reel off. Between the late '90s and his apparent retirement in 2004, Zahn was responsible for birthing a clutch of classic IDM longplayers like Tides and Lillies, the 2004 LP for City Centre Offices that seemed to signal his withdrawl from music. However, the production bug bit him again in 2013 and there has been a steady stream of Arovane output leading up to this Aarlenpeers EP. Issued on the Touchin' Bass label operated by self professed Arovan fan Andrea Parker, these two cuts bristle and pulse with abstracted electronic life in a manner one expects from Zahn. "Il_Eth" is quite epic.
Review: Floating between their own B12 imprint and the mighty Warp Records, the UK's Michael Golding and Steve Rutter, also known as B12, have been important in the development of the Anglo techno and IDM scenes up to this day. In 2015, after a lengthy hiatus which saw them release their last 12" in 2007, the duo make their return and it's on Slam's legendary Soma imprint. A good British showdown, indeed. "Into The Void" is a pile of broken drum machine twists, while "Descension" leans towards classic electronica patters and 'intelligent' techno routes. On the flipside, "Unsound Mind" clicks and steps its way through eerie pads and heavy slices of kick drums, whereas "Terra Incognita" enters the ambient kingdom, a habitat only mildly populated by percussion. Terrific.
Review: Michigan producer John Beltran is a master of atmosphere and emotion. His ambient has been used for countless seminal TV shows, he's been cited as an inspiration to Four Tet and has put out key albums on labels like Delsin and Peacefrog. Here he is in a distinctively club-focussed mood, but the synths still very much speak to your heart. "The Lake" is pure Motor City techno soul, and the ambient reprise allows you to wallow in his pads even more. "Twilight" then bustles with shimmering metal hits while pixelated keys drift about like a million fire flies in a warm night sky. Lush.
Review: Tucked away in his Peak District hideaway, Jack Lever has been laying down sumptuous fusions of dusty ambience and lo-fi electronica for some time now. He first rose to prominence via a fine 12" on Apollo in 2013, before heading back to Derbyshire to self-release music from the archives on cassette and download. This return to wax is well worth a listen, if only for the drowsy, 6AM ambience of "Convair", which wraps shortwave radio crackle and yearning chord progressions around gentle acoustic guitars. "Torches" is a blissful and dusty outsider house shuffler, while lead cut "Roads" is a terrific, dancefloor-tempo trip-hop head-nodder rich in distorted guitars, cascading instrument solos and beefy dub disco bass.
Review: German producer Bhed takes charge of the ninth EP on the vital Trusik label. His mastery of ambient, dub, techno depths and bass weight are all present and correct here, never more so than on the fantastic opener "Eighteenhundred". Taking up the whole of one side of wax, it is more than deserving of that indulgence as it slowly trips through floating pads, icy hi hats and supple rhythms that soothe the mind, body and soul. "Apatheia" is a more edgy track which is just as cavernous but has you looking over your shoulder, and closing cut "East" is a pure and dreamy dub beauty.
Review: Big Hands, big heart, big ideas; Milan man now based in London Andrea Bonalumi blesses us with his biggest release to date on Beat Machine. Fractured, frazzled and fried in future innovation, we're blindsided by the offbeat bubbles on "Prequel" and shunted and stuttered by disco freakery on "More Than Love". Elsewhere the title track boils things down to a much sludgier, warped and weird shuffle, "Tensegrity" reimagines rave for a modern day jilted generation while "Kick Blood" kicks us down a twisted UKG rabbit hole. "Blood" concludes this extensive extended player both in its breakbeat original form and gun-toting instrumental grime take from Walton. Big.
Review: Bochum Welt's 2019 album "Seafire" was arguably one of the strongest full-length sets that Central Processing Unit has released to date, which given the Sheffield-based label's track record is high praise indeed. This EP offers fresh interpretations of some of the album's many highlights. First up is a perfectly pitched radio edit of "More Light" a gorgeous slice of IDM bliss that recalls the halcyon days of Boards of Canada, which is later given a slightly chunkier - but no less beautiful - treatment by EOD and a bustling, club-ready electro re-fix, complete with Yorkshire bleeps, by veteran DJ/producer James Zabeila. Elsewhere, the ambient mix of "G1" is as luscious and blissful as you'd expect, while Teflon Tel Aviv's revision of "Color Me" is opaque, sun-kissed and more than a little spaced-out.
Review: Emergent duo Broken Arrows were previously spotted lurking around Giallo Disco back in 2015, so you should have some idea of the kind of lurid late night machine sleaze they like to get their hands dirty with. They've now slid over to the sympathetic but marginally more techno-minded Vivod imprint with a new clutch of deviant heaters for those adventurous dancefloor spaces where B-movie sounds reign supreme. "Female Predator" is a tough EBM-tinted workout with plenty of jack in its stack, while "Fear Eats The Soul" takes a more synth-wave approach with some speech samples thrown in for good measure. "Edge Of Darkness" is a more tense affair that pings arpeggios around a minor key refrain, and then "Basic Structure" whips out the hardest track on the record, a lithe industrial stomper laden with rhythmic noise and a mean synth bassline that will hit your solar plexus like a battering ram.
Review: Founded last year by Regis, James Ruskin and Juan Mendez, Jealous God's initial 'issues' fell very much within the remit of the expertly sculpted techno that the now defunct Sandwell District pioneered. However the label's focus has seemingly become a lot more open ended and willing to exploring the trio's well documented love for DIY post punk and industrial sounds and it's something that continues here with the debut of Broken English Club. The latest project from UK techno producer Oliver Ho, Broken English Club seems to be his most confident expression of his post punk and industrial influences, which have previously manifested themselves to varying degrees in the Raudive guise and his work as The Eyes In The Heat. His five track Jealous God debut features the excellent "Plastic Bag" and is complemented by a dub heavy mix CD from Taylor Burch of DVA DAMAS.
Review: While he's offered up the occasional remix, William "Burial" Bevan has been rather quiet of late. In fact, this two-tracker marks his first original material for almost two years. Lead cut "Claustro" is an unexpectedly up-tempo dancefloor affair - a sweet and sticky chunk of future-garage that sees Bevan wrap sugary female vocal snippets, spacey chords and bubbly analogue electronics around snappy two-step beats - drenched in vinyl crackle and tape hiss - and a rock solid bassline. It will raise a few eyebrows given his previous work but nevertheless sounds like a summer anthem in waiting. Bevan returns to familiar territory on flipside cut "State Forest", a ghostly, field recording-laden ambient excursion where pedal steel style motifs slowly rise above opaque electronics.
Review: Burial's first multiple-track release since "Rival Dealer" three years ago: "Young Death" takes the lead with weave of deep, scratchy and evocative human textures while soulful vocal shards yearn and flutter over soft faraway beats. "Nightmarket" takes an even more introspective meander through the shadowy unknown with fractured arpeggios, distant whispers and thick graininess that envelops almost overwhelmingly. As forward, unusual and unique as ever, Burial remains in a league of his own. Limited.
Review: Naturally, there's been plenty of hype surrounding this new Hyperdub 10", which features Burial indulging his often-discussed ambient influences. It's a typically creepy and ghostly affair, with the lack of beats - if not rhythmic elements - only serving to amplify the shadowy producer's impeccable sound design and brilliant use of manipulated field recordings. A-side "Subtemple" is particularly paranoid in tone, featuring as it does chilling melody loops, curious vocal samples, looped vinyl crackle and all manner of layered background noise. Flipside "Beachfires" is, if anything, even more dystopian, with Burial basing the action around the kind of pulsing chords that gust back and forth like an autumnal breeze.
Review: Although he built his reputation as party-starting DJ, Mister Saturday Night co-founder Justin Carter has always been a singer-songwriter at heart.This debut solo release sees him delivering evocative, folksy vocals over plucked acoustic guitar lines and ghostly backing vocals. The song's fragile, slightly woozy nature comes to the fore on the flipside "Version" mix, which only emphasizes the weary beauty of Carter's lyrics and vocal performance. It's a bit of a sideways step for Mister Saturday Night, but then the label has never played by the rules.