Review: Coup d'etat is a collaborative project from Kane Ikin and Harvey Sutherland. Working from their respective fringes of electronic music and produced in moments of respite between extensive touring and recording commitments, the project offers a glimpse into the pair's mutual influences and inspirations; part Maurizio, part Moroder. Kane Ikin, a meticulous producer of abstract forms and polyrhythms, weaves percussive static and drone amongst Sutherland's considered syntheziser work - a leftfield turn from Harvey's brighter moments. Ikin also traverses new rhythmic territory and signals a departure from earlier ambient works. The inaugural release for new imprint CDT, the 12" was mastered by Matt Colton at Alchemy and features full sleeve artwork from Traianos Pakioufakis.
Review: Having shot into the limelight in 2012 with a 12" on Hessle Audio followed up by an outing on Liberation Technologies, Bandshell has since been on covert operations largely centred around releasing his music himself via Bandcamp. Now he's extended that practice into the B.S.Hell label, providing a physical presence to his wayward experimentation on the fringes of bass music. It's a sound that naturally aligns with the likes of Batu and Laksa, but also defiantly makes its own statement as well. With five tracks of distinctive drum science and textural voodoo to indulge in, this is a welcome return to wax for a thrilling, self-motivated producer.
Review: From Copenhagen with love. After two years of planning, tweaking and fine-tuning, Danish groove monkeys Kasper Marott and Alfredo92 are proud to present their new label Axces. Repping their local crew, the label represents a community of artists including this single's co-producers Carl Emil and Lauge. "Os To" (which translates to 'the two of us') is as cute as it sounds. Dreamy, cosy, unhurried. "Fest Pa Taget" (party on the roof) raises the psychedelic factor a little as unearthly bubbles and chimes spin 360 around a jaunty rolling percussive beat. The start of something exciting and fresh; everyone has access to Axces.
Review: DJ Central presents three new aliases on this elegantly put together 12". Conjuring up the perfect recipe for a DJ Cake, Central blends and explores the likes of pulsating atmospheric techno on the track "Balast", smoothly escalating breaks on "Ko Ko Dak Dak" and hazy crackling ambient on the finale "Daeksel". Unique, inspiring and truly excellent works from the one they call DJ Central.
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: Having crept out of the tape undergrowth and respected haunts like Clan Destine and Always Human to earn more civilized recognition on BANK Records NYC and Bliq, Strahinja Arbutina makes the move to Vivod for yet more of that edgy, leftfield techno business that keeps mothers awake at night from worry. The grit, noise and distortion has been faithfully carried through from the cassette-based roots of Arbutina's sound, but these tracks are more than ready to do the damage in the dance (where you're less likely to find a tape deck). Hold on tight as the likes of "Way Ahead" give the sound engineer a fright when they think the system has overloaded.
Review: New Sydney-based label Deep Seeded has a clear mission to subvert conventions about club music, and new signing ptwiggs is right in there with the kind of otherworldly grime weirdness that you might find around the likes of Visionist, Rabit and other such sonic tinkerers. There's plenty of brutality at work on "Day Of Wrath", while "Exuviae" aims for something airier while getting sideswiped by distortion and trance leads. There are calmer moments, but it doesn't take long for intense levels of sound design, sampling and raucous processing to shake up the situation.
Review: Marking the start of an exciting new collaborative project, Wolf + Lamb proudly share the debut release of The Waves & Us. Formed out of
a creative meeting of minds between Maayan Nidam, Markus Nikolaus and Louis McGuire, theirs is a sound that strengthens the storied
approach of a live band with the experimental thrust of analogue electronics. Pop and rock fundamentals lend an earthly hook to the
tracks, but these are anything but straight-forward songs.
Maayan has already forged a formidable career in electronic music, both under her own name and as part of Mara Trax, scoring releases
on such celebrated labels as Perlon. Markus performs his own solo project Cunt Cunt Chanel, while Louis is part of Ballet School, a band
releasing on noted indie label Bella Union. The whirlwind of creativity that has whipped up around the trio has yielded an album which will
follow this single, made up of one-take recordings that capture the energy and adventure that powers The Waves & Us.
Maayan's electronics provide the atmospheric backdrop to the songs, running modular synthesisers and drum machines through detailed
chains of processing and effects with an emphasis on a warm, charmingly rough finish. Markus' guitar undergoes a similar fuzzy treatment
while his voice calls out introspective, abstract lyrics to set the mind racing. Louis' bass underpins the music with a dubby sensibility,
bringing a necessary balance to the frequency range.
Making the most of their in-the-room recording approach, the singles will feature alternative takes of the songs that will appear on the
album, providing a little insight into the flutters and fluctuations that shape the development of this project. With their eyes fixed on live
performances and an arresting sound already formed, this is a vital time for all three artists and the people that listen to them.
Review: Snap, Crackle & Pop does the business once again as Berlin-based producer Curses steps up with the distinctly 1980s new wave stylings of "Another View". It's the kind of track that will have lovers of early The Cure, Sisters Of Mercy et al dancing in a hazy fever dream where early goth and indie meets with contemporary beats. "Together In The Dark" makes the point even clearer with a brooding trip through languid guitar, beyond the grave vocals and scuffed drums. Inga Mauer takes an entirely different tact with her remix of the latter track, conjuring up a particularly chilling acid daemon to jangle the nerves before The Golden Filter spook out "Another View" with heavy doses of reverb.
Review: Hugo Capablanca may be best known for his more disco-minded output from his time on Gomma Records, but increasingly his scattered output and his label have been reaching towards more abrasive material. Nothing will prepare you for the confrontational nature of this daring, 'no label' transmission. The artwork alone is enough to challenge the senses, while the opening track is a metallic drone that gives way to the distended mutant beats of "Top Less". Guy Debord is no less cut throat in delivering a "Disco Punish" remix of "Lap Dance" on the B-side, all deconstructed groove and guttural noise, and then "Dance Less" rounds the record off with another excursion into unsettling, heavily processed noise.
Review: The Poverty Is Violence stable are firmly established now as an essential conductor for rabid, rowdy and downright rasping mechanics from subterranean operators of all shapes and sizes. Anonymous but reportedly veteran Dutch producer XXX previously appeared on the label in 2016 with the wild Noorder Scannen 12", and now returns with a bludgeoning new release. There's a consistent metal grind to the percussion on Westzaan Doelen, while the synth tones in between tend towards the jagged and abrasive, there's space and poise in the arrangement to lift this out of knuckleheaded noise. "Don't Go After Her" reverberates with clamouring intensity while the beefy chassis of "Just The Two Of You" shimmers under an acidic glaze - this is full-tilt deviant music executed with finesse to match the grime.
Review: Early in the year, forthright lo-fi techno experimentalist Delroy Edwards released an eccentric, 22-track, download-only album called Rio Grande. Here, he makes some of the highlights of that set available on vinyl for the very first time. It's an intriguing and largely enjoyable affair throughout, with the sometime L.I.E.S man following the glassy-eyed, recorded-from-the-radio Balearic warmth of "When I Think" with the stripped-back, noise-laden jack-track "Sugar Shack". These kinds of juxtapositions continue throughout, as Edwards flits between sweet and tactile downtempo doodles (see "Rio Grande"), clattering proto jack-tracks ("Let It Rock!") and hissing 1980s deep house bliss (the woozy brilliance of EP closer "Wild Illusions").
Review: Having built its name on various artist releases featuring old and new artists, Contort Yourself is branching out with a new series that focuses on one contemporary act per release. In this instance it's Coletivo Vandalismo getting some much-deserved attention. The Portuguese industrial punk outfit have a visceral sound that favours noise and distortion, but most importantly they know how to wield these sonic tools for maximum impact. The snarl of the synths and the crunch of the drums on "Hostages Of Society" could easily be too much in the wrong hands, but here the errant tones find their own space in the mix, making the impact of the track all the more on-point.
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 equally wonderful turns from Junto Club, Deeds and Curses!, emergent deviant disco denizens Snap Crackle & Pop invite a band called Uncanny Valley to offer up their unique brand of deathly wave music shot through with on-point beyond the grave vocals. "Chain Store" is a nightmarish march through wobbly synths while "Nowhere To Nowhere" plots a strident course with its bouncing beat and fulsome, undulating bass. "Popcorn" flips the script with its uptempo thrust, but the vintage synth-pop threads are still the dominant force in the music. Manfredas drops a remix of "Chain Store" that maintains the freakiness with a slow but heavy house lurch, and then Mondowski strips the meat from "Nowhere To Nowhere" and leaves a potent, skeletal club treatment behind.
Review: Time 'Love' Lee has been spinning tunes and kicking ass since the late 1980's, and his first productions date back from the early 1990's. That's when he started Peace Feast, among other imprints like Tummy Touch and Boy Scout Recordings, and that's also when he started pushing his own particular brand of loose outsider house. Although the first Peace Feast is from 1994, the label's releasing schedule has been rather sparse and this latest bombshell is only number twenty-four in the series! "Tingle" is a beautifully symphonic piece of music, barely held together by a playful percussion and well-mannered swells of bass. The flip, "E7000" is similarly musical and rich in instrumentation, a true expedition into the ether. Cop!
Review: With Ben Frost's Aurora album amongst many people's end of year lists, Mute draw together a selection of remixers for this Variant 12" whose collective reputation is every bit as impressive. You really aren't ready for this line up. First up, you got Evian Christ's broken, pseudo-bass version; next, Dutch E Germ transforms the original into a broken, swinging bundle of percussion; while HTRK delivers a fine concoction of steely drum machine licks and kicks on their slower remix. On the flip it's all about the floor, where Kangding Ray calls all the ravers and dishes out the techno servings on his mutation of "No Sorrows", whereas Downwards boss and Birmingham techno pioneer Regis turns up with a hollow, muscled roller for the late hours. All in all, a pretty banging affair.
Review: High Ends returns with an EP by Thomas Romain and his mother: famed free jazz pianist Christine Wodrascka. Christine's style is wholly unique: there are no barriers for her sonic exploration. Sound matter, energy, forms, architecture and emotion all play a part in shaping the style of one the most unique musicians out there. In his own irregular style, Thomas adds a sense of swing to his mother's improvisations. This fusion of acoustic and electronic creates wholly original experimental journeys which will delight the auditory senses of those listening. All these aesthetics are translated into opening track "Tribute To Parmegiani" where the track's namesake just happened to pass away on the day it was produced. It receives a sublime and hypnotic remix up next by Tobias Freund (Ostgut Ton).
Review: Although best known for the quality of their reissues, the Rain & Shine Records crew does put out stunningly good new music now and then. This is one of those occasions. "The Watcher" is the debut EP from 21 year-old New Zealander Arjuna Oakes, a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer and vocalist who's happy to forge his own path through the worlds of jazz-funk, soul and reggae. It's the kind of warm, woozy and effortlessly soulful musical fusion that has long been associated with artists from New Zealand, though it's fair to say that Oakes does it better than most. In fact, as debuts go it's an absolute stunner.
Review: Fiery dynamics abound as Detroit's Snakepiss delivers a caustic six track document. Ranging from the paranoid and intense overlapping vocal samples of the angst-ridden "Blaze" to the slow-and-steady tribal thunder of "Our Love", each cut reveals a different shade of Snakepiss's sonic personality. There's anger here, but it's displayed conservatively and creatively; "Set Fire To The Living", for example, is an icy slice of electro that develops into such a rich groove you can't avoid the heat. The vocal texture on "Frig", meanwhile, sounds as if the devil has been sampled himself... And wrapped around a meditative cosmic sermon that would sit well in any daring disco set. Strike a light.
Review: As part of Mura Oka, Louis Vial has already been spotted on the excellent Latency label as well as delivering a solo EP to Collapsing Market earlier this year. He once again dons his Eszaid cape on this release for the equally fine Meandyou stable, tapping into the labels predilection for obscure variations on the fringes of house and techno. "777,7" is especially captivating in its insistent cyclical minimalism, drilling straight for the subconscious, while "Eyeless Mannekin" sets adrift in aqueous climes for a proper floatation tank dub techno immersion. Using subtlety as a powerful tool, Eszaid ably matches up to the quality that has come before on Meandyou.
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: Made in the winter and spring of 2018 in 'edenic' Altadena, California: P & D Records co-founder (and Suzanne Kraft collaborator) P Relief is back with the label's third release. The now Berlin based producer serves up dreamy and mesmerizing lo-fi house on the splendid Idlehour EP, as heard on terrific jams such as the wonderful opener "Club Fever" while the zeitgeist of early '90s IDM is captured stylishly on the mysterious "Broken Bell" as well as on the dreamy, ambient house "Lolli".
Review: There's only been one other release to date on the aptly titled Night Sea Journey, whose M.O. is, "focused on simplicity." The Chicago label started life with label heads Garrett David and Colin Johnson, and now Adam Rowe has come to join in with his own take on simple approaches in ambient and deep house. "9_27 (edit 1)" may have a lovely sub bass propelling it, but the languorous quality of the keys makes it feel almost static in the best possible way. "8_27 (edit 1)" welcomes some needlepoint drum machine rhythms into the mix, preferring a broken beat over anything too straight. "Nite Houss" has a similar mysterious charm you might hear on a Real Soon record, while "Hanging Lake" swerve into more ambient territory again, with spectacular results.
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: The Shahr Farang label is always an interesting one to check in with, sometimes veering towards fragile ambience as much as intriguing beat constructions. Here, label mainstay Sohrab invites Erik Jahaali to join in on the tough yet atmospheric thrust of "Industriegebiet", before he goes it alone on the moody beatless blanket of sound that is "Fasseleh". Jahaali is back on board for "Skypainter," which pivots around dusty pads and subtle, snaking rhythms in the deepest techno tradition. "Dayi Mohsen" is the surprise of the record, dropping into a Mo Wax style funk that should soothe all manner of chill out room scenarios.