Review: Astral Industries have shaped a sizable portion of their catalogue around the work of The Chi Factory, and so it continues with this release from core member of the Dutch group, Jacobus Derwort. "Bamboo Music" gathers together some of the music Derwort released on tape back in 1987 along with other unearthed curios, all stitched together into the mystical trip that defines all Chi Factory releases. This is Fourth World voyaging for the deep divers, an evocative delight from imagined lands steeped in organic warmth and cosmic mysticism, and we should be very thankful Astral are on hand to do the fine job of pressing it to wax, not least in those fantastic Theo Ellsworth sleeves.
Review: Before becoming Belgian new beat and techno titans, Praga Khan and Chris Inger were collaborators in a new wave influenced band called Shakti. "Verboden Dromen" gathers together the best of the outfit's work recorded between 1987 and 1990, offering up tracks that join the dots between intoxicating synth-pop, moody new wave, hypnotic grooves and dark and sleazy dancefloor moments. All of the tracks have stood the test of time remarkably well, with highlights including the humid and exotic chug of "Kamasutra", the hallucination-inducing tropical fever of "Demonic Forces" and "Shanah", and the bustling, club-ready bounce of "The Awakening", which sounds like the Thompson Twins after one too many tabs of acid.
Review: Alexandra Drewchin's work as Eartheater reached a wider audience when it landed on Pan last year via the head-spinning "IRISIRI" album. Now she returns to the label she first emerged on, Hausu Mountain, for a reissue of her 2015 album "Metalepsis". It's a surprisingly direct record, even as it swerves from folky incantations to pastoral techno ruminations across nine bold and distinctive tracks. Both ambitious in scope and focused in execution, it's a perfect companion piece to "IRISIRI" that points out the skill and versatility at the disposal of this most crucial of contemporary artists.
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.
Review: After first emerging on Computer Club with the wonderful "Thoughts In Vias" back in 2017, Circa 2000 makes a welcome return on Barcelona label Lapsus with this new album of bombastic synthwave reflections. Leading in with the heavy soundtrack tones of "Rainwater For The Lament" before dropping into the synth pop balladry of "Know The Party", it's instantly apparent this is downcast music for electronic souls to get emotional to. There are more energetic moments like the sweetly pulsing "Seeds" (which seems to channel a mix of Eurhythmics and Bronski Beat to brilliant effect). Far from mere throwback, there's genuine heart and soul poured into this record to oil even the rustiest of robot hearts.
Review: Tabernacle turn their attention towards the industrial side of their musical repertoire with this hard-hitting release from Russian and French outfit UVB76. Hot on the heels of their S A N album on Teenage Menopause, this formidable duo serve up a searing blend of classic EBM pressure and contemporary flair, veering from the Skinny Puppy-esque stomp of "Extend" to the bruising Vex'd-tinted dubstep flex of "Ckahep". "Rust" locks into a jagged, darkside techno rut, while "Helm" gets artful with space and noise sculpture. "Citizen" offers the most measured track on the release, an uneasily submerged kind of electro noir for tortured souls.
Review: Last year Burial and the Bug joined forces as Flame 1, delivering an in-demand EP on the latter's Pressure label featuring two sizable slabs of industrial strength soundsystem science. Here they return as Flame 2, once again offering up a pair of weighty dancefloor excursions. A-side "Dive" is a loud and claustrophobic affair, as the duo wraps dystopian dub bass and sparse, mutilated post-drill rhythms in layers of apocalyptic aural textures and mind-altering dub techno style processed noise. Flipside "Rain" is arguably more suitable for dancefloor plays and sees the esteemed twosome combine pulverizing sub-bass heaviness with dancehall style drums that come smothered in mind-melting effects and paranoia-inducing aural smoke.
Review: Riccardo Mazza, more commonly working as RM these days, last appeared on iDEAL Recordings back in 2016 with the "Unfit" LP. Since then he's been spotted on Yerevan Tapes, but now makes a strong return to the Swedish experimental behemoth with some fiercely individual electronica that pivots from a braindance attitude into more challenging tonal fare on the turn of a dime. It makes for an exciting listen, where beatless excursions weave and slide between dynamically programmed drum machine workouts. Mazza's style is exuberant and expressive even as it skirts on the outer realms of electronic music, making for a record you could happily return to for repeat trips.
Review: Veteran Toronto-based producer Gregory de Rocher's career spans over 20 years, where he has released on the likes of City Centre Offices, Ersatz Audio and his own Suction Records - which he co-founded in 1997 with like-minded producer Jason Amm (aka Solvent). They present a collection of salvaged tape recordings from 1996 under de Rocher's lesser known Pest(e) moniker. A fascinating assortment of analogue electronics originally intended as a demo, it was at one point almost released on seminal UK label Skam but de Rocher ended up releasing it himself under the Lowfish alias - this being his debut album under the moniker. He uses broad strokes to paint a picture across the various tracks: from the jungle reductions of "Sieve", cosmic electro of "Agamemnon", to the evocative IDM trip of "Polychromerats" and hypnotic drone piece "Lungs Of The Clock".
Review: On his three previous solo albums as Blanck Mass, Fuck Buttons member Benjamin John Power offered up abstract but enjoyable blends of ambient, drone, IDM and electronics. On "Animated Violence Mild", his first full-length for two years, Power has decided to take a far more dystopian path, blending ear-catching, synth-pop influenced melodies with thrusting, doom-laden techno rhythms, growling aural textures, industrial strength noise and hybrid electronic power-pop. It's an ear-catching affair, with highlights including the boisterous, distorted techno-pop of "House Vs House", the post-apocalyptic power-trance rush of "Hush Money", the hypnotic, maximal ambient movements of "Creature/West Fuqua" and the pulsating intensity of "Wings Of Hate".
Curimao (Sons Onomatopaicos E Folk Da Guine) (6:48)
Solito (Solo De Balaue) (4:29)
Danado Cantador (Balaue, Orquestra E Declamacao) (A Fagner) (4:46)
Review: For the first in a series of must-have reissues of obscure Brazilian treats, Optimo Music and Selva Discos have joined forces to offer up a new pressing of Fernando Falcao's superb 1981 debut, "Memoria Das Aguas". The eight-track set has long been considered something of a slept-on and hard-to-find classic, with Falcao conjuring up an octet of tracks that brilliantly join the dots between neo-classical movements, dreamy, percussion-led soundscapes (see the sublime "Amanhecer Tabajara (A Alceu Valenca)"), spiraling big band Afro-Brazilian jazz ("Ladeira Dos Inocentes"), intoxicating classical-jazz fusion ("Revoada") and experimental, beat-free sound collages ("Mercado"). In a word: exceptional.