Review: Peculiarly, Fasaan offshoot Chalice has lain dormant since the label's first release appeared in stores back in 2014. Happily its Swedish parent label has decided to pull out all the stops for this comeback 12", gathering together six tracks from artists based across Europe and beyond. At six tracks deep there's not enough space to go into detail about every track, but suffice to say they're all loose, warm, quirky and generally lo-fi in feel. Highlights include the dreamy analogue synth-funk of Ruf Dug's "Cassette Boogie", the poignant, emotion-rich synth-wave warmth of Fahcrur Riaz Hazbullah's "Muriam", the clicking beats and intergalactic synth flourishes of "Heina" by Ruutu Pois and the frankly foreboding loose-house creepiness of "II Y A" by Dublin's Compassion Crew.
Rawmance - "Mondonotte, La Mattina Dopo" (Security re-drums) (3:30)
Review: La Beaute Du Negatif's fourth multi-artist EP arrives with little fanfare or fuss. Instead, the Rome-based label has decided to simply offer-up the EP and let us come to our own conclusions. For what it's worth, ours is that it's well worth checking - especially Monomorph's blissful, acid-flecked IDM opener "Rystal", which previously appeared on a hard-to-find CD way back in 1996. There are plenty of highlights elsewhere across the EP, though. Head first for the sparse, spacey cheeriness of Brainwaltzera's "Phos Harbinger", before getting your ears around the ambient jungle-techno brilliance of "Opener" by The Jaffa Kid. This is followed on side B by the shuffling, sun-kissed downtempo grooves of SSIEGE's "Sogno In BB" and a drowsy, mind-altering chunk of late 90s Warp Records style electronica by Rawmance.
Take It Personally (Exclusive unreleased instrumental) (1:30)
Review: Mukatsuku's latest must-have release offers another opportunity to own early Freddie Cruger AKA Red Astaire favourite "Take It Personally". The wonderfully dusty, smoky and life-affirming hip-hop-soul cut first appeared as a Swedish only CD single in 2001, before later being included on the Stockholm stalwart's 2006 debut album "Soul Search". This time round, the inspired original - all head-nodding beats, sumptuous strings and sugary-sweet vocals from guest Desmond Foster - comes accompanied by a previously unreleased instrumental take. This vocal-free version is superb, offering listeners a chance to wallow in the quality of the Swedish veteran's bumpin' beats and intoxicating, head-in-the-clouds production. In the record box of Danny Krivit,DJ Spinna, Kid Koala and more! Only 300 hand-numbered copies and strictly no repress. Juno copies come exclusively in additional hand stamped kraft paper inner sleeve and branded card outer sleeve. Don't sleep !
Review: Having previously popped up on ESP Institute, Juan Ramos teams up with Trent to form Greenvision, making their first appearance on the home of freshly squeezed discoid deviance, Cocktail D'Amore. "Surdinia" takes over the A side with a bombastic array of peak time devices in its utility belt, from bubbling acid tweaks to gluttonous monosynth leads and a chunky set of drums. "Meccanica" is no slouch either, laying down thick slabs of synthesized grease in pursuit of a different kind of party track. This is unusual, distinctive club music for those who want the crowd to stop and pay attention.
Review: It took Regularfantasy (real name Olivia Carman) almost three years to make a follow-up to her superb 2015 debut, Born On The Weekend, yet this sequel to her comeback 12", Tales From a Plush Palace, has appeared within three months of its predecessor. Sunsets and Sublets is a typically colourful and herb-powered affair, with Carman and collaborators (old pal Sophie Sweetland and Hashman DJ being the highest profile) laying down cuts that variously mix and match elements of bumpin' U.S garage, blazed Vancouver deep house, loved-up synth-pop, sunset-ready slo-jams, horizontal ambient mood-scapes and lo-fi R&B.
Review: The R&S label has many similarities to the legendary Basic Channel label. Although the vibe isn't 'that technoid' anymore, an astonishing range of tracks is presented here. Every 12" so far stands for itself. 'Roll Off' is a deep shaped and pulsating ambient tune in two parts with a unique sound scape of organic chords and coloured noises.
Review: There was much excitement surrounding Granit Records' recent reissue of Claude Rodap's sole album, 1982's synthesizer-heavy fusion of traditional Martinique styles and (then) contemporary electronic music, Syn-Ka. Now Rush Hour is getting in on the act, issuing three more obscure Rodap productions - this time made around the turn of the Millennium - on vinyl for the first time. There's naturally plenty to enjoy, from the rainforest melodies, spacey synth-bass and gentle tropical rhythms of "Hiwa", to the glistening, guitar-laden Caribbean Balerica of closer "Zouklove". The track that sits in between, the denser, jazzier, solo heavy "Paco", is also superb.
Review: Rat & Co's third album Third Law has been deep in incubation since 2014's Binary. A slight line-up tweak, time in the wilderness and - by the sounds of things - a few new machines have influenced and their picturesque, otherworldly signature, making the hazy bits a little chewier, the darker bits a little denser and making the trippy bits just that little bit freakier. From the swooning harmonic dirge of "I'm Not Dead" to the sunset breaks and glistening guitars of "Nerd Lock" via the penetrative comosis of "Soldiers", this is the sound of an act really digging deep into their sound and nestling right in. Their most accomplished and cohesive album so far.
Review: French electronic music maverick Erwan Castex aka Rone drops an LP for his native InFine imprint! This, as one would expect from Castex by now, is an excursion into the deepest depth of the synthesizer. There are both moments of total abstraction, such as on "(OO)" and "Ouija", and of sheer delicacy on the wonderful "Acid Reflux" or "Memory". The most impressive aspect of the album is Rone's technical ability, a freedom to express even the wildest of ideas into a concrete groove and sonic structure. Recommended.
Review: Last year, Raiders of the Lost Arp (real name Marco Pierro) popped up on Edizioni Mondo with a decidedly Balearic EP that ranks amongst his best work to date (and that's saying something). Here he returns to Francesco de Bellis's label with an album that's arguably even better. Rich in analogue synthesizers, bubbly lo-fi drum machine rhythms, sun-baked guitars and toasty bass, "Transmissioni" brilliantly strings together drowsy neo-Balearic gems in a range of interconnected styles. It's a superb set all told, with highlights including the subtle Tullio de Piscopo tribute "Studio Ritmico", the stargazing, arpeggio-led ambient of "Progressi Della Scienzi", the shuffling afternoon warmth of "Nightlife" and the Mark Barrott-esque goodness of closing cut "Timing".
Review: Surprisingly, it's been some four years since Croat producer Ilija Rudman dropped his much-played debut album, The Reveal, on Bear Funk. Happily, True Colours - his first outing on Is It Balearic - sees him in fine form, joining the dots between kaleidoscopic synth-funk, rubbery dub-disco, spaced-out boogie and glassy-eyed downtempo jams. Rudman is an expert at capturing the sounds of bygone eras, usually through the use of vintage equipment, while delivering tracks that sound thoroughly fresh and original. It's this that makes True Colours such a fantastic set. Highlights are plentiful, from the close dance smoothness of "Bad Passion" and boogie dub vibes of "All The Time" (check the delay-laden hits and sweeping violins) to the jaunty electro-goes-Balearic brilliance of "Wild Guess".