Review: Gop Tun are a Brazilian label and party crew operating out of Sao Paulo, and they stride into their third release with a pair of tracks that are likely to establish them on the map even more than they are already. This is the second outing for Hatchets on the label, and "Hey Benji" makes for a perfect encapsulation of the Gop Tun sound with its warm, organic sound palette, slinky disco structure and traditional Latin elements. Prins Thomas meanwhile pushes the track into a whole other realm for his remix, creating a hard-edged, heavy-grooving remix that promises all kinds of psychedelic abandon on the dancefloor.
Review: Swedish house producer HNNY gave up DJing in 2016 but has still been working on music in the background, and we're glad he has, because the two cuts here for new label born out of a Stockholm audiophile bar, Hosoi, are lovely. A side "By" conjures a gorgeous mood with soft snares and what sounds like Spanish guitar strumming away beneath aching vocal coos. Flip over for "Hosoi", a dreamy downtempo groove with live sousing drum work and incidental chords that drift by on a warm breeze. This EP is a perfect tonic for those needing a break from busy modern life.
Review: Greg Foat and Warren Hampshire are two the UK's most interesting minds when it comes to contemporary jazz experimentation, and their recent partnership for Athens Of The North feels like exactly the right thing at exactly the right moment. With both artists capable of producing many alternate forms of jazz and additive rhythm, Nightshade: Library Music Vol.1, feels like one of their more introspective pieces of work to date, and allows both of them to stretch their aesthetic to its very limits, focusing more on the subconscious atmosphere created by the instruments rather than cheap thrills based on beats and 'dance'. This is a connoisseur's album, and we're glad that this kind of gear is still landing on our shelves. Bless.
Review: Strangelove Music's latest vinyl-only outing dips into the infrequently explored archives of American multi-instrumentalist Frank Harris and collaborator Maria Marquez, a pairing that previously released a couple of sought after "ethno-wave" singles in the late 1980s. "Echoes" gathers together unreleased music made in 1985, presenting it as an unheard album that oozes off-kilter quality from start to finish. Most of the tracks were made using Harris' custom Synclavier synthesizer station, with his humid and breezy new age melodies and dreamy chords working brilliantly with Marquez's folksy, multi-lingual vocals, a variety of world music inspired rhythms and some seriously atmospheric field recordings. It's a formula that guarantees unusual but inspired results from start to finish.
Review: "Year of the Dragon" marks Windsurf member Samuel Milton Grawe's first album for some seven years under the Hatchback guise and it is nothing short of spellbinding. It sees Grawe mix and match a variety of complimentary influences - think space disco, cosmic rock, horizontal electronic jazz, slo-mo synth-pop, Balearica, 1980s library music and synth-wave - to create evocative, musically rich tracks that not only defy simple categorization, but also linger in the memory. Highlights include the dreamy, loved-up ambient cut "Onarimon" and "Year Of The Dragon", a 12-minute Balearic epic that reminded us of his early classics "Hatchback" and "White Diamond".
Review: Given the hype surrounding HNNY over the last few years - fuelled, primarily, by a string of celebrated singles on Puss, Local Talk, Let's Play House and YUMMY - it's somewhat surprising that Sunday marks his first foray into the album market. Wisely, the Swedish artist embraced the opportunity for eclecticism that the format provides, filling his debut full-length with a mix of tracks variously designed for sofa-bound listening and dancing in clubs. There's a jazz-flecked beauty to the crackly downtempo grooves offered up by the title track, while the dreamy, guitar-laced head-nodder "Sylvia" recalls the best of his Balearic-influenced work. It's these luscious moments, such as the twinkling ambience of closer "My Baby", that really resonate.
Review: Since debuting with the sublime With U last summer, Holy Other has become one of the Tri Angle roster's most compelling figures, and that rarest of things - an anonymous producer that is more than the sum of the hype surrounding them who is able to imbue their music with genuine personality. Though his sound is initially typical of the Aaliyah sampling Burial wannabes that are currently plaguing the internet, Holy Other manages to add extra layer of gothic drama to proceedings. Though the beats are there, they limp rather than skip (such as on opener "(W)here"), R&B tropes are inverted to create a ghostly frame draped over a skeletal structure ("Inpouring"). R&B isn't the only influence however; "Past Tension" is chopped and screwed 80s pop, while the heart wrenching chords and rumbling strings of "In Difference" could easily have come from Mogwai's Rock Action.
Review: We never quite know what to expect from leftfield explorer Jon Hopkins, but we know it will be worth a listen. Immunity, his fourth solo album (he's recorded two others, one with Brian Eno and another with King Creosote), doesn't disappoint. Rooted in shuffling, forthright and occasionally off-kilter rhythms, it melds hazy, late night atmospherics and subtle melodies with intense, droning chords, woozy electronics and all manner of inventive noises. It's a blend that repeatedly pays dividends, from the mournful pianos and jumpy rhythms of "Breathe This Air', to the crystalline, soundscape ambience of "Abandon Window", and glitchy wonkiness of "Form By Firelight".
Review: In 1979, a year after he co-founded Yellow Magic Orchestra, Haruomi Hosono joined forces with acoustic guitarist Takahiko Ishikawa and keyboardist Masataka Matsutoya to record "The Aegean Sea", a gloriously sunny set of jazz-fusion, disco and jazz-funk cuts shot through with Mediterranean musical influences. It's the kind of thing that would now be considered "Balearic", so it's little surprise to see the set getting a European reissue for the very first time. There's much to admire throughout, from the funk-fuelled dancefloor cheeriness of "Reggae Aegean Woman" and Bob James/Jimmy Smith-influenced bliss of "Image", to the sun-baked gorgeousness of "Day Break" and thrillingly jaunty "Atlantis".