Review: Back in 2016, legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen approached techno pioneer Jeff Mills with the idea of working together. A series of live gigs and off-the-radar studio sessions followed, with the first fruits of their joint efforts finally appearing on this must-have 10". As you'd expect, the duo's collaborative work combines Allen's traditional Nigerian polyrhythms, traditional Afrobeat instrumentation, and the far-sighted, sci-fi inspired electronic futurism that has always marked out Mills' work. The result is a quartet of cuts that could arguably be described as retro-futurist Afro-tech - all delay-laden beats, basslines and organs subtly sparring with gentle acid lines, Motor City electronics, beguiling deep space textures and shimmering, 31st century motifs. It's arguably Allen's stylistic contributions that dominate, but that's no bad thing.
Review: In line with the timely reappraisal of all things R&S related, the resurgent Apollo have seen the opportunity to bring one of their most celebrated records back for another round. Aphex Twin's ambient recordings mature magnificently with age, sounding ever richer and more emotive as the rest of electronic music continues to play catch up all around. From the gentle breakbeats of "Xtal" to the aquatic techno lure of "Tha", the airy rave of "Pulsewidth" to the heartwrenching composition of "Ageispolis", every track is a perennial example of how far ambient techno could reach even back then. It's just that no-one quite had the arm-span of Richard D. James.
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: 'The Man-Machine' is closer to the sound and style that would define early new wave electro-pop. Less minimalistic in its arrangements and more complex and danceable in its underlying rhythms. Like its predecessor, 'Trans-Europe Express', there is the feel of a divided concept album, with some songs devoted to science fiction-esque links between humans and technology, often with electronically processed vocals ("The Robots," "Spacelab," and the title track); others take the glamour of urbanization as their subject ("Neon Lights" and "Metropolis"). Plus, there's "The Model," a character sketch that falls under the latter category but takes a more cynical view of the title character's glamorous lifestyle. More pop-oriented than any of their previous work, the sound of 'The Man-Machine' in particular among Kraftwerk's oeuvre had a tremendous impact on the cold, robotic synth pop of artists like Gary Numan, as well as Britain's later new-romantic movement.
Review: These days, we're all familiar with Jan Jelinek's trademark brand of dusty, dubbed-out, jazz-sampling downtempo explorations. That wasn't the case when Loop Finding Jazz Records, his acclaimed debut album, first appeared back in 2001. It has since become an in-demand item, making this reissue more than handy. It remains a fine album; a blazed shuffle through a sonic world where dub techno, ambient, minimal house, jazz and downtempo grooves and seductive vinyl crackle merge into one intoxicating hybrid sound. It's not showy and over-the-top, but rather becalmed and subtly seductive. In other words, it's still a brilliant album and if you don't own already own a copy, you should add this to your cart sharpish.
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: Turin techno stalwart Andrea has been serving up slabs of goodness on Ilian Tape since way back in 2012, though "Ritorno" is remarkably his very first full-length excursion. The 12 track set is far more varied than his fine club-focused singles, with the Italian variously turning his hand to swelling, Global Communication style ambient techno ("Attimo"), ultra-deep breakbeat dreaminess ("SKLYN"), melodious, jungle-influenced IDM ("LS September"), bassbin rattlers ("TrackQY", the skittish brilliance of moody roller "Reinf"), dreamy soundscape techno ("LG_Amb"), angular fusions of bass music and dark Italo-techno ("Drumzzy") and picturesque ambient dub slow jams ("Twin Forests").
Review: Parisian label Lowless follow up the stellar Svarog 12" with this intriguing paddlesteam through deepest techno waters via apparent newcomer Ameeva. The mood is resolutely ambient at the front end of this album, even as the soft-hitting, blown out beats creep in on "Hidden Inertia". There's a grubby, lo-fi quality to the sounds on offer, but they're offset by the depth of composition to create an engaging sonic environment that wraps itself around you. Plenty of dub processing and a preference for languid, subtly wielded pads adds to the gauzy finish of the record,
Review: Blind Allies are an unstoppable force in the slimy underbelly of electro right now, and they're back with another shell shocker on the bounce from Zeta Reticula's "Sonic Assault". This time around Void Cells (Bristol-based Latvian producer Aleksejs Apolskis) makes a pointed return following the digital release Perception Model back in 2018. The drums rain down hard on this record, not least on punchy electro bruiser "SHE". NX1 offers up a rabble rousing techno twist on the original, before "Saturated Faces" opens up the B side with another fist-shaking slab of 4/4. Behind the grubby demeanour of the music lies some serious craft, making this a must-check for those looking in the more interesting corners of the electro boom.
Review: Alongside regular studio partner Andreas Baumecker, Sam Barker has released a swathe of admired singles and a couple of on-point albums on Ostgut Ton. Here he returns to the much-loved German imprint with his most significant solo release to date: a debut album of drowsy, sun-baked electronic positivity that expertly melds elements of hazy ambient, dub techno, off-kilter electronica and the classic kosmiche synthesizer soundscapes associated with Tangerine Dream. It's a lot less dancefloor-focused than much of his previous material, but that's not a criticism: indeed, the fact that it's warm, opaque and prioritizes fuzzy, slowly shifting musical movements is the album's greatest strength.
Review: Synthesizer and drum machine obsessive Xosar (AKA producer Sheela Rahman) has enjoyed a productive few years, building a formidable reputation via releases on Rush Hour, L.I.E.S and Creme Organization. Here she delivers her first full-length for Opal Tapes' occasional vinyl offshoot, Black Opal. It's perhaps a little less colourful and synthesizer-heavy than previous excursions, instead focusing on dark, fuzzy, heavily percussive takes on acid house and techno. Of course, there are curious interludes - see the wonky industrial IDM of "Prophylaxis" and the beatless synth madness of "Gnome Circle" - but it's the more floor-friendly excursions (and most profoundly the bleak and intense "Hades Gates") that really stand out.
Review: Ten Days Of Blue is John Beltran's second LP to date, from a distant-not-so-distant 1996, when a rush of neo-techno - on an intelligent tip - began to rush over the scene. The opening "Flex" is one of the greatest of its kind, a near 7 minute voyage of sparse drums, heavy bass and a level of euphoria that is close to match anywhere else. The truth is, however, that every tune on here is absolute fire, from the gentle IDM waves of "Collage Of Dream", the jazzed-out percussion of "Gutaris Breeze (6000km To Amsterdam)" and, of course, the knifty, pseudo d&b of "Ten Days Of Blue". There is so much more to explore, too, including the totally innovative techno of "Venim & Wonder". This gear really does sound like it was made the other day. Warmly recommended.
Review: Despite being one of the UK's most prolific electronic musicians, Jacob Martin AKA Hodge has never released a solo album. "Shadows In Blue" is therefore one of the most hotly anticipated debut full-lengths for some time. Appearing just under a decade after his first single, the set expands on his sub-heavy, club-centric blends of techno and bass and showcases a producer at the peak of his powers. There are a number of speaker-busting dancefloor workouts - see "Sense Inversion", the tropical techno creepiness of "Lanes" and the Lone-ish stomp of "Ghost of Akina (Rainbow Edition)" - but the most striking thing about the album is Martin's promotion of pastoral sounds, blissful melodies, picturesque new age soundscapes and trumpet-laden, dubbed-out ambient jazz (see closing cut "One Last Dance").
Review: "We are excited to finally announce and share 'Presentiment', the second Long Player from The Connection Machine. This release is particularly special for us as it will be the first time in over 20 years that Jeroen and Natasja have put an album out on vinyl. Despite having a string of aliased releases in the '90s on the mighty U-Trax, a 12" during the early days of Carl Craig's Planet E, a remarkable album 'Painless' on Down Low Music, and most recently a series of in demand E.P.s with Lost Trax on Tabernacle, their output has remained tantalisingly infrequent. With 12 tracks that capture their unique and awe-inspiring sound, 'Presentiment' opens you up to a world that only The Connection Machine have access to."
Review: Having built up his self titled label alongside his sterling work as part of Oscillat, Lazare Hoche and Will & Ink, the one and only Malin Genie delivers his debut solo album. Moving beyond the pure club focus of his singles and EPs, the Genie has seized this opportunity to present a widescreen panorama of his sound, leading in with the subliminal ambience of "You" as a springboard to explore breaks, electro, techno, and especially IDM. There are so many ideas swirling round Anthropomorphic Sympathy, it's hard to know where to begin describing it. A true headphone commute for the deep listener to burrow into.
Dalhous - "He Was Human & Belonged With Humans" (Regis version)
Regis - "Blood Witness" (original 12" mix)
Vatican Shadow - "Church Of All Images" (Regis version)
Family Sex - "Manbait" (Regis version)
Regis - "Blinding Horses" (original 12" mix)
CUB - "C U 1" (original mix)
Regis - "Blood Witness" (Downwards extended version)
Tropic Of Cancer - "Plant Lilies At My Head" (alternate version)
Regis - "Blinding Horses" (Turin version)
Raime - "This Foundry" (Regis verison)
Regis - "Blinding Horses" (Stableboy version)
Review: The BEB boys have had this LP from Regis in the works for a while now, getting every coldwave freak from here to Timbuktu raving with excitement. Although this LP isn't made up wholly of new tracks, it is a fine compilation of the man's most important material post his purist techno days of the late 90's and early 2000's. Within, you'll find all of his most diverse and thought-provoking works, from the infamous remix of Raime's "This Foundry" to the gorgeous techno excursion that is the remix of "Loss" by Dalhous, a collection of works that span ambient, goth, techno and EBM. However, there a three new tunes: there's the excellent Nitzer Ebb-style remix of "Manbait" by Family Sex, the electrifying "CU1" by CUB, and the wavy, far-out trip that is "Plant Lillies At My Head" by Tropic Of Cancer. Yes, this is a bit special, so do the right thing.
Review: Calypso are back with another clutch of exciting mavericks orbiting the weirder end of the contemporary club spectrum. There are minimal wave influences to be tacitly detected on Nicola Cruz's "Tu Recuerdo" as well as kind of stripped back acid freakiness, while in FE's "Tarde O Temprano" there's even more gritty, industrial tinged bite in the billowing surges of machine rhythms. Quixosis takes some wonderfully lilting traditional percussion and gives it a freaky treatment which makes for the kind of slow jam Weatherall would have wielded with aplomb. NTFL finishes this ear-snagging compilation off with the plaintive, Dembow-tinted "Vacio".
Review: Emotional Rescue and Malka Tuti serve up another round of top shelf remixes and revisions of John Rees Lewis' mid-late 80s project C Cat Trance, following in the wake of the Screaming Ghosts compilation. First up to bat are Red Axes, who bring a seductive line in loose and limber drumming to "Shake The Mind" that should suit the Fourth World dancefloor massive just fine. Jamie Paton brings a tough, clamouring intensity to "Take Me To The Beach," while Prins Thomas takes a truly spiritual approach when weaving the intricate arpeggios and percussion of "Sudaniyya." Khidja and Borusiade team up on "Simple Helen," presenting a dense and hazy trip into exotic territory with sinister undertones.
Review: After years spent supporting the underground IDM scene digitally, Glasgow label Ambidextrous makes the leap to vinyl with this killer compilation of ear-catching deep techno and electronica. Christ brings a bubbling range of synth tones to "Rom" before Norken and Nyquist drop some brooding electro tones over rolling beats on"Od Detot". Solipsism has a more sassy house sound to impart, while Nyquist goes into full electro mode on his own. On the flip, Analogue Audio Association have some edgy acid to throw down, Cyan341 brings a touch of boogie flex to the record and Mich Chillage rounds the record off with emotive outboard electronics of a reflective nature.
Review: Shahr Farang continues to blossom as a label, primarily as a vessel for the work of Sohrab Karimi and Rasul Gafarov, better known as Ahu and Lenta respectively. On this occasion, Ahu and Lenta have teamed up to present some intriguing clippings from two separate improvised studio jams. As is customary with the label, the primary mode of expression is minimal techno shrouded in hazy textures and atmospheric matter, but it veers more towards the kind of clicks and cuts you'd expect from a classic Scape record than anything geared towards the dancefloor. The steady tick of a 4/4 kick means this music isn't necessarily consigned to the headphones though - the right kind of warm up slot or backroom could be just the place to melt into these delicate productions.
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: While this EP from Canadian twosome M.S.L may well be brand new, the sounds they're championing reverberate with the echoes of a bygone age, specifically the early-to-mid-90s heyday of the I.D.M scene. Opener "2020" for example wraps intergalactic, braindance style lead lines and early Aphex Twin chords around a bubbly, acid-flecked ambient techno rhythm, while the whistling "Stormtech" bubbles and spits impressively while doffing a cap towards both Orbital and Detroit electro. Elsewhere, "Sundials" is a glistening supernova of far-out synthesizer melodies and bustling machine drums, while "Riviere Rouge" is a psychedelic techno number rich in bittersweet chords and poignant melodies.
Review: artist iridescence debuts on brilliant swedish label blundar - a blend of electronic ambient & abstract electronica subtle reminding of earliest Delsin releases and CIM works... long player with 12 rather short tracks and interludes. limited to 100 hand-numbered copies - artwork by mutantexture.
Review: Mohammad Reza Mortazavi is the perfect companion to Burnt Friedman's steely, minimalistic shades of broken dub techno. The Iranian percussionist comes as a surprise addition to the Nonplace catalogue, but he certainly makes for an even more cerebral drumming experience than the already off-kilter world of Friedman's tunes. Both the A-side's mixes of "Yek" are just on the right side of dark, combining Eastern influences together with colder, more industrial executions from the West. On the B-side, we have a similarly frenetic experience, where metallic drums collide with deep baselines and polyrhythmic flows spanning the full circle. Well, this might just be our favourite Nonplace yet!
Review: As time passes, the increasingly prolific partnership of Ricardo Villalobos and Max Loderbauer moves farther into the wilderness, both artists emboldened by their shared sense of adventure and peerless skill. Here, on this LP for Mana, they're shrugging off all shackles in an exploration of synthesis on a molecular level. What's so thrilling is that patterns and rhythms do emerge from within this primordial soup, winding up in some of the most gorgeous and beguiling works we've tripped on for some time. Otherworldly, but somehow grounded with an earthly instinctive-ness, "The Clouds Know" will take time to wrap your head around, but therein lies the beauty.
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: Czech label Detach launched back in 2015 with some low key firepower from Moll+, and now they're back with a split release that showcases some fiery upcoming talent in the field of experimental electronica. The sound DYL is exploring on "Phrases" is rabid and deconstructed, but equally bristling with analogue energy. Senking jumps in with DYL for the more rhythmically structured "Destroyed City Lights", which balances sweet and savage tones beautifully. DYL and DB1 create a stern, percussion led variation of electro on "Uniformity Of Nature" and Senking's solo piece "Launch" jettisons off into misty blue pools of synthetic expression, making this a record that surprises and satisfies at every turn.
Review: Three years on from his last full-length outing, Norfolk's leading electronic adventurer returns with a brand-new album, his fifth in total. "Blizzards" is in some ways similar to the melodious and inventive trademark sound he's been crafting over the last 15 years - think bold electronic melodies, unsettling and off-kilter chords, curious noises, and occasional rhythms that sit somewhere between IDM and ambient techno - yet at times it feels more fuzzy and forthright than usual. So amongst the relaxed and slowly shifting soundscapes and quirky electronica you'll find a number of bustling club cuts, with "Stepping Stone", "Vectra" and the surging, sparking "Eris & Dysnomia" standing out.
Review: The first release on the freshly minted Molt label is special on a number of levels, not least a transparent marbled vinyl pressing and the inclusion of ten specially prepared locked-grooves from lead artist DB1. He also provides two superb A-side cuts too: the hissing, deep space hum of "Late Night" - a fine fusion of abstract electronics, dub techno and pitched-down grooves - and the abrasive, slowly shifting ambient creepiness of "Tone". Over on side B, DYL offers up a wonderfully creepy slab of sparse, minimalist and metallic techno/bass music fusion while Paragon delivers a druggy trip into alien electronics and strange, sludgy beats and abstract sounds.
Review: NOCHEXXX is a self styled "freak producer" and B.O.M. is his fifth full length. It makes a first release from Plastic Horse and invites you to inhabit a weird world of acid techno that is heavy on percussion and big on bass. Shaders of what dubstep became also linger in the shadows, and plenty of edgy UK bleeps add urgency to the tracks which are all perfectly poised for various forms of dance floor destruction. Some are slow and smoky like the opener, others are more urgent like 'Entercol' and then the likes of 'Teflontuan' take absolutely no prisoners in their intergalactic aural assaults.
Review: Ryan Hunn AKA Illum Sphere has impressively grown and matured as a producer since making his debut on Fat City back in 2009. His 2014 debut album, Ghosts of Then & Now, was something of a watershed moment, tempering his experimental, bass-heavy dancefloor compositions with a newfound love of cinematic sounds. Glass arguably moves further in the latter direction. While there are some nods towards his club-ready past - see the 4/4 shuffle of "Fall Into Water", or the moody electro bounce of "Fuel The Fire" - it's not the beats that dominate, but rather his evocative chord progressions and IDM style melodies. In fact, it's the more sanguine, ambient inspired cuts, of which there are numerous, that really stand out.
Review: Thankfully, Richard D. James has decided to finally release at least some of the output that he's been banging on about since mid-2000s. In a number of interviews, the might Aphex Twin hinted that he has vast artilleries of tracks stacked up and unreleased, probably more on purpose than out of laziness...or maybe not. What we do know is that AFX is reborn after the string of acid 12"s released about 10 years ago on Rephlex, that saw the alias become one of the most popular of James' alter egos. Orphaned Deejay Selek is a collection of tunes that contain all of the Twin's magic and unpredictably, but that also cut straight to the point and head to the middle of the dance floor. This is banging brain dynamite coated in the man's iconic style and flair. Welcome back AFX, and many hats off to Warp for making it happen.
Review: Some 25 years after delivering his debut 12", Richard D James hasn't lost the ability to thrill or inspire. By his obtuse standards, the material that makes up the surprise Cheetah EP is actually rather laidback and melodious. "Cheetah2 (LD Spectrum)", for example, sounds like a slow house jam written by robots, while the even deeper "Cheetah7B" shuffles along in a metronomic fashion, seemingly oblivious to the increasingly aggressive World at large. Of course, those trademark skittish IDM rhythms are present - see the B-side's lead cut - and the Cornishman has thrown in a couple of hazy ambient cuts for good measure.
Meets The Bedlamites In Cassette Conference (3:45)
Slaves & Pyramids (live) (6:29)
Pure Power (demo) (5:45)
Subliminal Seduction (5:23)
Bedlam A Go-Go (4:54)
Liquid Metal (6:46)
Mad As Mankind (6:43)
Dream Web Of Maya (5:44)
Pure Power (4:00)
Review: We are honored to release 'A Boy Alone', a double LP set from Manchester electronic music pioneer Eric Random. Best known for his early recordings for New Hormones and Les Disques du Crepuscule and collaborations with Pete Shelley (Buzzcocks), Cabaret Voltaire and Nico. As an original member of The Tiller Boys with Shelley, Random injected a healthy dose of Krautrock into the dour Manchester post-punk scene in 1978/79 before going solo the following year. Random's first 7" "Subliminal"/"23 Skidoo" was released in 1981 via Les Disques du Crepuscule and explored ominous sonic surrounds. That same year also saw the release of a second 7" single on New Hormones, "Dow Chemical Company"/ "Skin Deep". Both tracks offered bubbling, rhythmic sound patterns, and were the first to feature other musicians that would become know as The Bedlamites. Consisting of Lynn Walton on vocals, Ian Runacres and Andy Diagram of Dislocation Dance, and bassist Wayne Worm, aka Wayne Sedgeman. Their debut 12" single "Subliminal Seduction"/"Bedlam-a-Go-Go" was released in 1982 through Plurex, mixing arid funk textures and sparse melodies. That same year the group contributed proto chill-out track "6.55" to Plurex compilation 'Hours' and the highly filmic track "In Cassette Conference" to the Touch cassette package 'Feature Mist'. In 1983, Random spent several months in the Himalayas with a group of musicians from the Kulu Valley and studied non-Western instruments such as tabla. On returning to Manchester, Random convened a new group of Belamites including Walton, Sedgeman and drummer Graham Dowdall aka Dids of Ludus. They released the 12" single "Mad As Mankind"/"Dream Web Of Maya" in 1984 on Cabaret Voltaire's Doublevision, embracing electronic, industrial and dub styles. In 1985 they contributed the soothing "Pure Power" to Food Records' "Imminent Episode One" compilation. Our reissue also includes 4 unreleased bonus tracks from Eric's archives recorded between 1981-1984. The whole set adds up to 115 minutes of sinister, somnambulant Random music. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. Each copy is housed in a gatefold jacket designed by Eloise Leigh featuring a spread of ephemera, photos with liner notes by James Nice of LTM.
Review: Somewhat surprisingly, "Psychotic Window" is Bjarki's second full-length outing of 2019 - though eagle-eyed readers may note that it was previously available as a "secret bonus album" within the highly limited edition boxed version of its predecessor, "Happy Birthday". It's therefore unsurprising that it explores similarly sonic territory, with the Icelandic artist flitting between glacial ambient, moody, Biosphere style IDM, dubbed-out doom-scapes, post trip-hop breakbeat fuzziness, unsettling electronica, Autechre-esque beat tracks and stripped-back, sub-heavy techno. While stylistically varied, it's uniformly moody and atmospheric, with a creeping sense of paranoia and despair that pervades even the most melodic of tracks.
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