Blood Moon (Dawl & Sween Tone DropOut remix) (7:17)
Blood Moon (Violet remix) (5:56)
Review: Kim Ann Foxman takes a break from her own Self:Timer label to pop up on [Emotional] Especial. Her track "Blood Moon" hinges around rolling breaks and a globular monosynth bassline, but it's Foxman's vocals that give the track an electric, mystical energy that will cast a spell over the dance. Roza Terenzi takes the original and jacks it up, sharpening the focus of the rhythm section without losing the crunchy breaks. Dawl and Sween channel some bleeps n' breaks vibes of their own with a version that keeps things darkside and wiggy for the old-skool crew. Rounding things off, Violet's remix emphasises the acid as it plunges into the depths of the dungeon in a hooky, hard-edged style.
Review: Kris Baha had a big year in 2019 with the release of his debut album on CockTail d'Amore and an EP on Pinkman, and now the Australian body music man in Berlin is back with a high-pressure heater for [Emotional] Especial. "Barely Alive" is the kind of sinewy proto-industrial cut that will appeal to fans of Ministry's earlier work, when the synths reigned supreme and there was pop to match the noir. Especial then call on a cast of remixers to interpret the track in different ways, from Timothy J Fairplay amping up the dystopian disco tropes to Das Ding creating a sleek electro-funk twist with the original's gothic undertones intact.
Review: Having a debut that managed to possibly be the most regularly outed track by Andrew Weatherall as he dug deep to discover the sound that resonated as A Love From Outer Space, while at the same time seemingly slipping under the radar of practically everyone else and disappearing in to relative cult obscurity is some mean feat.
Unperturbed that the odd(disco)ball that was the acidic genius of Morodor In Milan was shamefully overlooked, Maurice & Charles have again taken time out from their daytime media and art enriched lives to hunker down and offer up another take on their twisted idea of what makes people groove. In Sofa Love, their ode to the marvels and pitfalls of the mega-city, bubbling 303 again underpins a twisted lyrical journey. Set against crashing percussion, this is their peaen to la Metropole. Ably supporting it is a driving, rhythmic workout from our own Jamie Paton, taking the original and stripping everything back to jack like it should. If that frightens off the less adventurous, then I,Carpenter will perhaps offer a respite. An off-kilter, acid-funk nod to the experimentations of Eno & Byrne, this quirky gem makes you wonder, why did no-one use that sample before? To end comes a solo debut from Soft Rock's Piers Harrison. His drum heavy remix straightens things up and lets the story unfold.
Review: 12th Isle's latest must-check chunk of entertaining experimentalism comes from Lo Kindre, whose dub-wise 2017 debut on Optimo Music was arguably one of that year's most overlooked EPs. "Chlorophytum", the producer's first solo missive since then, is another lo-fi electronic dub treat. Of course, it's not all gentle bass-heavy rhythms, endless delay trails and cute electronic melodies - closing cut "For Sleep" is a buzzing electronic raga, for example - but it's on these bass-heavy excursions that Lo Kindre most frequently hits the spot. Highlights include the extraordinarily sub-heavy shuffle of "Sounder", the ambient dub wooziness of "Aibell" and the creepy alien-dub oddness of "No Hiding".
Review: Relentlessly prolific Boris Bunnik brings his electro-focused Versalife alias to 20/20 Vision, a label which has been excelling at a renewed focus on the sounds of electro in recent years. The 808 beats are crisp and snapping, like they should in proper electro, but the synths shape out the atmosphere in brooding, dystopian strokes shot through with a certain mournful quality. It makes for engrossing, emotionally charged material perfect for the dancefloor as much as headphone reveries - just flip to the gorgeous "Aegis" and feel yourself drift away to somewhere mystical in the far reaches of the future.
Review: 2MR is a curious label, indeed. For starters, its founders Mike Simonetti and Mike Sniper have released just about all sorts of electronic music on it. The second release by Russian artist Kedr Livanskiy is just as nutty as her debut, except that this time we have even more sound experiments to play with. Mixing up lo-fi techno through the likes of "Razrushitelniy Krug" or "Winds Of May", together with grainy shades of house on "January Sun", and even broken-down echoes of post-hardcore with "Otvechai Za Slova" the artist has managed to create a truly captivating record, and perhaps also one of the freshest and most daring pieces of music that we've heard since the turn of the new year. Warmly recommended.
Review: William J.Youngman's Headless Horseman project has created a new and exciting techno sound that was only an offshoot of EBM and industrial in years past. Stepping out of his own imprint, the dark horseman lands on Tommy Four Seven's excellent 47 label, tearing through the speakers from the get-go thanks to the toxic sounds of "Revelation", and the even nastier sway of "Concussion". Metallic and hard-nosed in absolutely every way, "Locust" follows up on that with a menacing pounce of beats and cavernous bass, while "Gravity" breaks the techno groove for something much more in line with the likes of Powell's Diagonal output. Big boy sounds.
Review: The Golden Filter's "Autonomy" album has been a surefire highlight of the year for lovers of fresh twists on the coldwave tradition, and now the London-based outfit's music is undergoing the remix process with a stellar cast of sonic surgeons. First up is Medlar, who takes "Autonomy" and roughs it up into a decidedly freaky house diversion that keeps the edgy spirit of the original intact. Anna Wall takes "New Politik" into sparse, minimalist places, while Curses adds a seductive strain of post-punk gloominess into "Electric Light". Isolating completes the set with an icy industrial reduction of "Infinity" - a powerful atmospheric piece that does great service to the original.
Review: Joe Coghill presents his debut release on Transit Valley. A multi-disciplinary artist, musician and experimental publisher based in Edinburgh, he works in an improvised and often haphazard way. It incorporates disparate field recordings, modular synthesis and other sonic ambiences to create unpredictable and ephemeral multi-layer performances. Alongside this, he has been producing music recreationally in his various bedroom studios over the past 14 years. There are some intriguing perspectives on modern dance music here that Coghill provides his perspective on: from entrancing/slow-motion tribal techno workouts, textured and semi-abrasive ambient/noise and even a bit of lo-fi electro - such as on the EP's standout "Exit Lane".
Review: Moopie's A Colourful Storm label launched earlier this year as an extension of the popular online platform that has hosted a rich and diverse stream of mixes from the likes of Imaginary Softwoods, DJ Nobu, Frak and Rabih Beaini to name a few. Pro-tip: do check that latter live mix from the Morphine boss! It was the archival sounds of Denial and their lost Oz classic cover of "California Dreaming" that heralded the arrival of A Colourful Storm, but this second release on the label switches the focus to more contemporary fare. Power Relations is a two track 12" of bad-mannered, f*cked up club trax from Melbourne's Nerve. The stomping, nocturnal techno of the title track is backed with a Photek-meets-Sunn O))) terror stepper entitled "Heads & Ordinary Concrete". For fans of Regis, Emptyset and Blackest Ever Black.
Review: Acid Waxa drew plenty of positive heat for carrying Roy Of The Ravers amongst many other respected braindancers, but now Hot Chip drummer Sarah Jones is getting the remix treatment on the label for her Pillow Person project, with some wild results. It's great to see Bogdan Raczynski back in action and bringing some gently wonked, emotional acid meanderings to "On Your Way", while Lechuga Zafiro makes an art out of aping footwork, and more specifically "Footcrab" while making it sound like someone just stubbed their toe and got stuck in a loop. IYDES however turns "In My Game" into a deconstructed but utterly bloated pop beast, and then Oliver Coates whips "Go Ahead" into a woozy, highly strung daze with billowing synths underneath Jones' vocal.
Review: While some of the hype surrounding Acting Press may have cooled in recent times, the Berlin-based label remains in rude health. That much is proved by this album-length double vinyl excursion from Intera, an all-star collaboration between PLO Man, Hashman Deejay, C3D-E. The trio starts in stunning fashion with the spaced-out, far-sighted dub techno/ambient fusion of "697", before brilliantly wrapping huggable, ultra-deep chords around a skittish techno beat on "463". They pay tribute to the glory years of Detroit techno on the all-action bustle of "548", while "653" sees them place bouncy, glassy-eyed riffs and Modem-style electronic sounds atop another retro-futurist techno groove. "414" is techno-funk after an extra-strong dose of shrooms and "410" is a superb ambient techno excursion.
Review: Sainte Vie has been working away in the Mexican underground for some time, running Akumandra as a free, digital-only label to help promote all kinds of electronic music. Now it's time for Vie to step up with their first outright release, first time on wax, and hence a new era for the label. The tone is varied across the record, leading in with the worldly drum rattle and string strum of "Huracan", a whirlwind of drama and hand-played musicianship that stands out from the crowd. "Albatross" is a more introspective cut that brings Vie's vocals to the forefront, and then "Maria" chills things out further with a haunting vocal from Pascale and some delicate finger picking guitar delights over a dynamic set of drums.
Review: Los Angeles has firmly established itself as one of America's electronic music capitals over the last ten years, with the city particularly fertile in more experimental ends, where rave, urban and downtempo collide in a haze of found sounds, samples and original loops. Kutmah pretty much encapsulates this point. Melding elements of hip hop, post-punk and industrial, 'New Appliance' is basically the producer's new calling card - a mini masterpiece that's so tight and well-executed it leaves no questions as to the creator's ability. 'Ramallah''s intoxicating Arabic references, crackling recordings of bells, haunting chants and exotic flutes. 'Stoned In Brixton' cries out for a sunset to soundtrack, nodding to the productions of DJ Krush or Bibio, with the latter similarly invoked on 'Tres Flores'. Smoked-out innovations by the kilo.
Review: Bologna crew Alley Version return with a new 12", this time welcoming Richard Smith in his scintillating L/F/D/M guise. Smith has more than proven himself as a techno outlier par excellence, and so it continues on this gnarled and knotted batch of tracks. For all the lo-fi crunch, there's vitality and verve spilling out of all these tracks, especially the artfully messy "Flats". "Lemon Sunrise" is more decidedly unhinged, and "Plutonium" takes a slow and suffocating glide through freaky soundscapes teetering between the netherworld and the sunkissed boulevard. For DJs looking for the most club impact, "Blank Cheque" is the one though - a dishevelled banger for disjointed souls.
Review: Following the excellent OHM compilation, Glasgow's Ambidextrous label continues its forays into vinyl editions with this sterling EP from label regular Solipsism, aka Craig Murphy. With an energised, dynamic sound that positively bursts out of the speakers, Murphy is flying the flag for leftfield electronica coming out of Scotland. "Error Hash Mirror Mountain" has the kind of overloaded yet melodic sound that you might expect from early Nathan Fake, although the wooziness is replaced by a rabid punch that shakes your cerebellum. "Sea Dweller" by way of stark contrast dives into a low-slung trip hop vibe, and the smoked out mood continues with "Hypnagogo" on the flip. "Fast Rubber Taxis" is equally slow, but it sports a sassy rhythmic strut that sets it apart from the other two downtempo tracks.
Review: Chris Weeks has been building up the Kingbastard catalogue for a long time now, generally taking a self-reliant approach in the underground electronica scene where CD-r releases reign supreme. He's been a key figure on Ambidextrous since the label launched back in 2008, and now he's committed to wax with a range of crunched up leftfield sonics for the machine-loving crowd. "Anxiety" is a melodic cut with a house-minded structure, but there's a lot of production acrobatics and compositional swerves taking place within this framework. "Scatterbrain" is more overtly out there, tapping up the kind of heavily processed sounds that producers like Paradroid have championed in the past. "Data_Loss" strike a heavy blow somewhere between dubstep and electro, and "Data_Ctrl" ups the tempo for a rabble-rousing exercise in mind-bending machine music.
Review: After years spent supporting the underground IDM scene digitally, Glasgow label Ambidextrous makes the leap to vinyl with this killer compilation of ear-catching deep techno and electronica. Christ brings a bubbling range of synth tones to "Rom" before Norken and Nyquist drop some brooding electro tones over rolling beats on"Od Detot". Solipsism has a more sassy house sound to impart, while Nyquist goes into full electro mode on his own. On the flip, Analogue Audio Association have some edgy acid to throw down, Cyan341 brings a touch of boogie flex to the record and Mich Chillage rounds the record off with emotive outboard electronics of a reflective nature.
Review: Fresh from marking his return to wax with a limited edition dose of experimental jazz on 2 Headed Deer, Antonio Marini AKA Healing Force Project delivers a mini-album that joins the dots between that freewheeling style and his usual leftfield electronica, feverish ambient and mutilated techno. Compositionally, "Sideral Escape" is rather interesting, with Marini combining chopped and looped recordings of jazz instrumentation (double bass, drums, screeching guitars), with outer-space electronics, sparse drum machine beats, broken computer sounds and an impending sense of doom. It's hard to accurately describe, let alone pigeonhole, but that's no criticism; in fact, it's what makes it such an intriguing and enjoyable listen.