Review: The DDS label, short for Distort Decay Sustain, has given artists like Demdike Stare a platform on which to express themselves through over the years, but it was really Equiknoxx's LP from 2016, Bird Sound Power, which opened their doors to a whole new category of listener. In fact, it was that LP, with all its stunning, dub-wise experimentation, which has led to Mark Ernestus being called up for a pair of remixes. As you probably know, this is a rare case, so this 12" is sort of a special piece - "Congo Get Slap" is given the pure Ernestus rundown, with a charging, minimalistic percussion being swallowed whole by the raucous dub stabs caving in from all angles; the remix of "Flagged Up" is a much slower, more brooding affair in the same vein as the mythical cuts residing on imprints like Basic Channel and Chain Reaction - nothing but deep, meditative dub flexing for the mind. BIG!
Review: ZamZam 72 comes from one of our favorite producers for the last few years, the elusive Andy Mac. Known in particular for his "Diving Bird" series, a buy-on-sight trilogy of 12"s on Bristol's Idle Hands, the idiosyncratic producer also has releases on No Corner (in collaboration with Ossia), and the seminal Punch Drunk label. His unique style of chopped, techy, warm, pastoralist dubwise had us from the first, and the tunes he sent us flew through our A&R gauntlet with ease. His are records we return to again and again, revealing more subtlety with each listen, free from genre or tempo constraints.
Review: George and Glen Miller are undoubtedly best known for their West End Records released 1982 boogie-soul classic "Touch Your Life". They released plenty of other records that flitted between soca, reggae, disco, and - in the latter stages of their career - electrofunk. "Easing", which appeared at some point at the turn of the '80s on London label Third World, remains one of their most potent releases - and, in its original form at least, formidably hard to find. This Soundway reissue wisely replicates the track list of the original release, beginning with the title track - a deliciously percussive, musically intricate chunk of peak-time disco smothered in sharp, Afro-funk style horns and George and Glen Miller's lilting reggae-soul style vocals. The flipside "Version" strips out the vocals, allowing listeners to hear in greater detail the pair's impeccable arrangements and instrumentations (particularly the fine orchestration and rich groove).
Review: Muscut's second EP in September is as hot as the first, and comes from Polina Matskevich, who is part of the Chillera band behind the label's other offering this month. Her trippy electric guitar rings out at the heart of each of these cuts while an experimental approach to sound collage, studio effects, field recordings and dub all colour the spaces around. "Gryaznly Sled" is a mysterious cut awash with warm southern guitars, then things get heavenly and soul soothing thanks to the gentle chords of "Avgust Na Zakate Dnya". "Toyota" is a more traditional but superbly slow and cavernous dub, and the flips explores more harmonic melodies and fatter rhythms. It all adds up to a rather refreshing EP.
Review: Following on from the impressive opening statement from Modern Manners, the second installment from the hitherto unknown outfit sees the sonic remit reaching out to other influences while retaining that poised lounge attitude that made the first record so instantly endearing. "Research" is a dub track in essence, sporting ample space in the mix, the odd conga roll and sparse chords calling out into a field of reverb and delay. "Can Maneras" is a more shuffling kind of smooth jazz that aligns with the classy licks of St Germain and the like. "Serate Cosmiche" finishes the EP off on a melancholic tip that puts the synths at the front of the mix for the first time.