Review: Notorious Discodromo helmed session CockTail D'Amore celebrate their 10th birthday with a compilation that highlights many different aspects of the much loved and musically adventurous Berlin party. The Cosmic Hole is the corner of the club that champions slower, freakier sounds, and the corresponding 12" kicks off in style with the throbbing acid chug of "Mount Anal" by CPI. Juan Ramos brings something of a nightmarish industrial clamour to "Skincrawler", while Kris Baha gets bombastic on the full-fat "Paralleled". Bezier completes the package with "Starpoint", a mystical affair shaped out by yearning strings and subtle rhythms.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Gravity Graffiti has been doing great things with its series of split 12"s already, but now the Italian label goes one better for its tenth release with this mighty double pack of heavy hitters. First up is the ever-untouchable Yoshinori Hayashi, who gets as straight up as he possibly could with the freaky house burner "Dissociative." Telephones is feeling particularly dubbed out and groovy on "Kalimbalimbo", while DB.Source and Riccardo Schiro take things strung out and textural on "Montevago". Dynamo Dreesen is in rave mode for the pepped up and delightfully weird "Reactivate", leaving the final side to Oyvind Morken & Kaman Leung's chugging "Tunnel Visjon" and the rubbery side swipes of Acidboychair's "The End (At Any Speed)".
Review: Virtuoso musician Jon Hopkins and Kelly Lee Owens are a perfect compliment for each other on their new EP for Domino. Both are leaders in their field and used to exploring outside the usual lines, which is what they do here. "Luminous Spaces" was meant to be an Owens remix of a track from Hopkins' 2018 album SIngularity but instead she recorded new synths and vocals for it. The result is sparkling bit of melodic and astral techno that gets you lost in the lushness as you sink ever further into a trance. "Luminous Beings" is a deeper anymore thoughtful vision that makes a different but equally real impact.
Review: As part of the mandatory Record Store Day celebrations, Young Turks pull together productions from Jamie XX, Four Tet, Koreless, and John Talabot for a limited 7" release. The more attentive followers of Young Turks will know the music here originates from a commission by artists Sofi Mattioli and Rebecca Salvadori who enlisted the four to provide short compositions for their film Continuum. The two minute productions were available to download for free at the time, but Young Turks obviously felt there was an audience out there that would want the music in a more tangible, and collectible, format. Of the four, it's the rather epic "Horizon" from Koreless that hits the hardest.
Review: It's always good to see a split release from two artists whose track records (no pun intended) make it very difficult to predict where the new wares will fit. Which is exactly the case with this one, given K15's oeuvre name-checks imprints like Wotnot Music, Eglo and Wild Oats, while SMDB has appeared on Funkineven's Apron and the always great Lo Recordings in recent years. Needless to say, then, if we can rely on one thing it's that everything on this expansive, obscure collection of curveballs will be deep and richly textured. From 'Pace & Time''s downtempo barroom jazz, to the shuffling broken beats and waves of synth on 'Dry Mango (Part 2)', the confusing beat structures and delicate piano play of 'Earth State' to 'Syntherlude''s beat-less, science fiction tune up, it's all well made stuff.
Review: In advance of release, Diagonal and Elon Katz have been particularly mysterious when it comes to the contents of The Human Pet. Instead of the usual press release, they simply emailed journalists a bizarre list of "care instructions" for said mythical companion. Katz, who rose to prominence as part of Streetwalker and White Car, is something of a bombastic, electronic eccentric, and The Human Pet is ostensibly a pop album dragged through several hedges backwards. Expect impassioned, stylized vocals, twisted boogie synths, scattergun electronics, bizarre beats, breakcore style cut-up madness, and crusty special effects. Oh, and discernible nods to EBM, industrial and Autechre.
Review: Detroit Underground label head Kero returns to his sonic roots with the first of the Detroit Map Series originally featured on the limited DUTT-181 Series functional record player designed by Neubau Berlin. As a kick-start, Kero reveals Highways-a 5-track extended player of (abstract) electronics that is cleverly pulled together with a downbeat flow and tracks aptly sub-titled as major freeway arteries of the Motor City.
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: Started in 2013, Mollusca Vinyl is a Brooklyn based electronic reocrd label specializing in minimal style, analog laden music. Our folks believe in pushing the vinyl medium as art. This set of compositions has been described as Balearic downtempo with pastoral departures. Written while on several beaches, it suggests the definition of lackadaisical make out music, emoting euphoric post pillow talk feelings-of-the-raw through minimalist synth phrasing, ambient texturing and isolated beats. Artwork by Doroniyam at Azuri Cafe. Mastered by Jason at Transition Mastering UK. Printed at Brooklyn Phono.
Review: The combination of Richard H. Kirk and Minimal Wave was never going to disappoint, but the four tracks on this Never Lose Your Shadow 12" are still very special! Digging deep through the archives of the Cabaret Voltaire front man, Veronica Vasicka presents a quartet of solo recordings that have never been committed to wax before. The highlight is undoubtedly the A Side title track, a lolloping ten minute track of hypnotic industrial action made all the more memorable by Kirk's acerbic intonations about "the blind leading the blind". If you've caught a Vasicka DJ set recently you will have probably lost yourself to these ten minutes. On the flip are three tracks recorded in the same late '70s period which are distinctly more experimental in tone and just as vital.
Fjader & Lioness - "There There Theremin" (feat Ravens'vor) (7:39)
Review: Each successive EP on Nikki Pryke AKA Lioness' Envelope Audio imprint has been a multi-artist affair, offering tracks that explore the margins of techno, electro and ambient. The label's latest EP follows this template, with Pryke playing a central role on a selection of tracks that veer towards the more slowly shifting and spacey end of the ambient spectrum. Pryke first joins forces with Johanna Knutsson on the languid, synthesizer-heavy bliss of "Oramics", before collaborating with Tora Vinter on "Delian Archives", a fine tribute to Radiophonic Workshop pioneer Delia Derbyshire rich in icy motifs and modular bleeps and glitches. Arguably best of all though is B-side "There, There, Theremin", a celestial ambient excursion crafted by Pryke and Fjader that wraps deconstructed Theremin sounds and ghostly chords around tactile, easy-going electronics.
Review: There's a sense of dark mystery throughout this latest from Onont Kombar, which some will recall from his contributions to the 2016 mini-album, 'Split', featuring celebrated tracks such as 'The Doors'. Not quite a case of more of the same here - all three pieces feel very original - but nevertheless that steely and unnerving cold wave vibe is very much present and correct. This outing veers from suggestion to full intoxication. 'The Last Days Last Forever' sounds like a recording of a track from distance; you struggle to make out the details but together they create a powerful overall mood. Meanwhile, 'Epitaph of Ego' brings acid warbles and snares to the fore, resulting in a tune that owes much to the more Romantic side of electro and electro pop, with 'Moondust In My Eye' employing a chugging groove to give its whirring, industrial details a dash of obscure funk.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: This is proving to be a big breakthrough year for Kosh, a producer hailing from Casablanca in Morocco. After making a first appearance last year on Casa Voyager, he's returned to that label a second time before dropping the "Endless Quest" 12" on eudemonia. But now he's made a marked leap forward with this transmission on 20:20 Vision, where his incredibly well-read take on vintage electro sounds right at home. There is quality pouring from every corner of this record, but we recommend you make a beeline for the sumptuous "Vicious Love," an acid-laced burner with soul to match its snarl.
Review: Vester Koza has remained quiet as of late but he's back with his singular brand of deep house on his own Maslo imprint. While his previous 12"s were coated in a relatively upbeat and funked-out flavour, the PRISN EP feels darker, more expansive and ethereal, where Koza prefers the use of drones and abstract electronics as a base for his grooves. "Deciveid", for example, takes a broken, hypnotic beat and places it over subtle twists of noise, whereas "Bind_Dream_Service" is slow, jagged and lacking of a 4/4 beat...it's Vester Koza's industrial side coming out to play.
Review: Kreidler and Automat have unconsciously kept the Krautrock heritage alive, with both sets of outfits mystically blending more traditional instruments together with nutty electronic twerkings. For their Record Store Day special, they've joined forces with Genesis P-Orridge, formerly of Throbbing Gristle, and have given us a magnetic split release. Automat's tracks are mechanical but nonetheless organic in texture, rendered even more fragile by P-Orridge's trademark rantings. Kreidler, on the other hand, go for a more classic approach, where electronic guitars are twisted and turned into an absolute frenzy amid slicing drum breaks and subtle electronic manipulations. Needless to say, this is a strong release from Bureau B.
Review: The first of this two parter on Lockertmatik is fascinating indeed: it explores a wide range of tempos and draws on jazz, drum & bass, techno and ambient in intriguing ways. "Jazz Cops" is superbly silky, with a sense of tension in the wandering bassline and loose piano chords and "Laid Back in M" then slows down and gets all mysterious, with an alien lead and unsettling keys speaking of some Blade Runner style dystopia. Last of all comes the hall of mirrors that is "Situation Hullkurve" with edgy keys and jazz drums all hanging in mid-air and keeping you in utter suspense.
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.