Review: Jeff Mills, the legendary Detroit techno pioneer who has been praised and worshipped by everyone club kid over the age of 18 since the late 80s, has focussed his efforts more on the classical side of music in more recent years. His gigs at the Barbican over the last few years, for example, are the shows to which he's dedicated most of his attention to, and it somehow all makes perfect sense. Although legendary tunes like "The Bells" or "Amazon" are straight-up dance floor bombs, there has always been a feeling that Mills' tunes were composed of something more than mere kick drums and monophonic instruments. This new album, Planets, sees the artist showcase the role of science fiction and of an imagined order prominently, something he's always been fascinated with. The likes of "Mercury", "Venus", "Earth" and the rest of the cosmos make more sense here than they do in the academic books; much like the great Sun Ra, it's almost as if these artists have found a simpler, more instinctive way to transmit the power of the universe. And that's through sound. The price might seem hefty, but this will be regarded as a very important release in the future. A fantastic journey through space and time.
Review: B12 man Steven Rutter rounds off another successful year in style via that most rare of items: an ambient and IDM focused seven-inch single. Presented on yellow vinyl, the "Light From The Dark EP" is every bit as essential as the veteran producer's other 2019 releases. A-side "In The Darkness" sets the tone, with Rutter placing spaced-out, slowly unfurling synthesizer melodies over a bed of rumbling field recordings, creepy rhythmic electronics and trippy, mind-altering effects. This is ambient music for altered minds and should probably be listened to at around five in the morning. Flipside "The Sands Of Time" is equally as evocative and atmospheric, with Rutter joining the dots between ambient, IDM and trippy dub techno.
Review: On the next record from Main Drain Studios, Chicago artist K-rAd brings two high-tempo cuts loaded with their distinct blend of bright, nimble production.
The A-side, "174_B7B5" is a total D&B tear-out. Thundering subs carry along waves of arpeggiated synths, while whimsical samples cut the tension of the winding breakbeat flurries.
On the flip side, horns fade in and out of "154_Materials Stardust Memories ", conjuring visions of a metropolis at dusk, with jazzy interludes telling tales while lean, skittering drums & warped bass lines pepper the road along the way.