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: Since it was Area that started the Kimochi Sound revolution just under a decade ago, it seems fitting that the publicity-shy artist has delivered the label's first release of a new decade. There are no new Area tracks here though, but rather a quartet of fresh reworks of classic cuts. Natan H kicks off proceedings with a deep, hypnotic, trippy and undeniably wonky revision of "Dare To Be Different", before Leif weighs in with a deliciously melodious, soft-focus revision of picturesque track "The Face Yours Reminds Me Of". Benjamin Brunn takes over on Side B and delivers two contrasting versions on "Effortlessness": the deep, wayward electro-meets-dub house drowsiness of the "Gold Plated Diamonds" mix and the heady ambient techno brilliance of the "Chrome Plated Diamonds" mix.
Review: Analogue synthesizer enthusiast Bezier first surfaced on Dark Entries in 2012, delivering the hard-wired retro-futurist fantasy Ensconced. Two years on, he's finally ready to release the follow-up, the similarly sharp and sci-fi themed Telemores. As with his previous output, the influences are obvious - think Radiophonic Workshop, electro, minimal, new wave and Italo-disco - but he smartly steers clear of pastiche and empty revivalism. Instead, we're treated to a range of dancefloor-friendly instrumental cuts, cyborg jams, and intoxicating robot rinse-outs. Closer "Fukushima", in which he doffs a cap to the synthesized horror-disco of John Carpenter, is particularly potent.
Review: A special release from Minimal Wave here as the uber rare Irene & Mavis EP from UK synth poppers Blancmange is granted a reissue! Those with a pub quiz winning level of knowledge of UK synth pop will no doubt be familiar with the 80s hits of Blancmange duo Neil Arthur & Stephen Luscombe, yet this debut EP dating back to 1980 will still sound revelatory. The self released Irene & Mavis EP marked Arthur and Luscombe to be fully willing to experiment with DIY electronics, impressing Mute founder Daniel Miller sufficiently to proclaim them "maiden aunts of electronic music," and thus more than suited as a subject of focus from the Minimal Wave label. There are definite similarities between this nascent stage of Blancmange and the output of Cabaret Voltaire from the same era, particularly in the masked and disembodied nature of the vocals, whilst "Holiday Camp" and "Just Another Spectre" are wonderful examples of instrumental synth music. Despite originally being released in 7" format, the six newly remastered tracks are presented here in 10" format by Minimal Wave with the distinctive artwork retained!
Review: Although Corrupted is being trailed as a "mysterious Japanese doom metal band formed in 1994", the label credits suggest it's actually the work of long-serving industrial producer Martin Bowes (previously a member of such forthright combos as Attrition, Pigface and Engram). "Felicific Algorithim" is an intensely uncomfortable and mind-altering affair, where sampled screams and redlined white noise rise above the distortion-splattered doom of the aggressive and twisted backing track. The 13-minute A-side version is, in many ways, terrifying in its disconcerting and fragmented approach, while the flipside, a kind of dark ambient version based around foreboding held notes and barely audible vocal samples, sounds like the work of lauded noisenik Dominick Fenrow.
Review: Rated over the years by the likes of John Peel and Thom Yorke, Christoph De Babalon has been cooking up experimental jungle since 1994. He remains just as happily and securely on the bleeding edge now as he always has.... Make plenty of room for the thundering drums and unpredictability of "Could We Be?", the overwhelmingly dark and languishing intro on "Pure Dirge", the electrified drone and booming reese on "How Long From Now" in your sets. Then make plenty of room in your head for the woozy horns and skittering jazz drums of "Luxury Of Sadness". Immense innovation.
Review: Anyone getting approval from Ill Considered has got to be worth a pop, dip and spin. In the cradle of one of the UK's leading exponents of improvised, modernist jazz funk, Leroy Duncann comes correct with a new hand-stamped 7" weighted down by some seriously heavy grooves. "Too Late" is an instrumental beast with a tough drop on the one and ample dynamic shifts to keep your ears attentive to the sound. "Tough Love" on the flip is a tight affair too, worming its way through some deadly key shifts and a hefty dose of psych-rock to keep things freaky and far from formal.
Review: Earthen Sea adds to the Kimochi Sound with a soulful examination of indistinct margins, suffused with dusky haze. It's a heady atmosphere and has a palpable heaviness throughout. Starting the record are the concrete reverberations of You Don't Never Know, followed by the murky ebb and flow of Fly. 13 Beat(less) is diffused ambience.
Shielding fittingly closes the record, and weaves Earthen Sea's many textures with intricate syncopation.
Five Times Of Dust - "Computer Bank" (The Floor mix) (7:12)
Five Times Of Dust - "Armoured Car" (6:57)
Unovidual & Tara Cross - "Like I Am, Comme Je Suis" (The Floor mix) (7:11)
Unovidual & Tara Cross - "Imponative" (3:28)
Review: Thanks to the eternally revered Minimal Wave imprint, out of NYC, Mark Phillips and Robert Lawrence's Five Times Of Dust project is going through a bit of a revival. The duo had first released some post-punk cassettes back in the 80s, and they clearly have not been forgotten. On this new remix EP, "Computer Bank" is given a makeover in the form of a The Floor remix, who proceeds to add all sorts of quirkiness over the tune's tough, heavy bass and driving rhythm; "Armoured Car" breaks the 4/4 in favour of something much closer to the band's original drum machine style. Once again, on the flip, we have a remix of "Like I Am, Comme Je Suis" by The Floor, who throws up a gnarly electro bass onto shady, neo-romantic vocals, and the whole things is finished off by "Imponative" from Unovodual and Tara Cross, who produce a slow, heady industrial groove for the dancefloor.
Review: Back in 2015, jazz/electronica fusionists GoGo Penguin wrote and performed a live soundtrack to Godfrey Reggio's cult 1982 documentary "Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance". It was such a success that they have since performed the soundtrack live all over the world, and here deliver a fine mini-album inspired by their original "re-score". It's as vibrant, emotion-rich and stirring as you'd expect, with opener "Time-Lapse City" providing a dazzling mixture of intensely positive and restless pianos, bustling jazz drums and smooth double bass, "Ocean In A Drop" brilliantly growing in intensity throughout thanks to a superb new arrangement and closer "Nessus" sounding every bit as poignant and tear-jerking as it did when they first performed the score.
Flotation (Paul Woolford Special Request remix - Full Length version) (12:55)
Flotation (Paul Woolford Special Request remix - Richard Norris edit) (6:47)
Review: The Grid's 1990 track 'Floatation' is a stone cold post-rave comedown classic that epitomises the sound of chill out tents of the day. If anyone deserves to chill out a little right now, it's Paul Woolford, the hugely prolific beat maker, jungle mash up artist and bass face maestro who has put out multiple albums as Special Request in the last 12 months. Here he goes slow, deep and lush on his superb 12 minute version, with piano chords and breaking waves all soothing the soul. On the flip, Richard Norris, who was actually a part of The Grid, edits that remix into something even more smooth and sweet.
Special Long Version (feat Sue Tompkins - demo) (10:02)
Let Suffering Become You (2:46)
Review: We're not gonna lie when we say that we absolutely love Russell Haswell. The UK industrial misfit is among the few who can truly bring the heat in pretty much any situation he's in, or on any record he's unleashing his deathly twists of distortion on. Over recent years, he's struck up a winning partnership with Diagonal boss Powell, and together they've now racked up plenty of releases and DJ sets, both bashing out the hard gear on a constant basis. Haswell is back on Diagonal here, coming through with five harsh, penetrative tracks under the umbrella of Respondent. While none of these tunes could be classified as traditional techno, or even 'dance' music, they do contain enough movement to appeal to a very specific sort of DJ - the ones with the most cojones! This is classic Haswell material at its most cavernous. Recommended.
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