Review: There's always been something a little loved-up about the scattergun, genre-bending productions of New York's Drew Lustman, AKA Falty DL. Yet previously, his desire to fuse cutting-edge rhythms with vintage rave references sometimes got in the way. Hardcourage, his first full-length for independent behemoths Ninja Tune, takes a more 'softly-softly' approach. Whereas his last full-length, 2011's You Stand Uncertain, was a kaleidoscopic invitation to start the dance, Hardcourage gently beckons you towards a loving embrace. While there are still plenty of skittish rhythms present, they're wrapped up in a warm orange glow - all serotonin-soaked chords, cascading melodies, bluesy vocal samples and near-Balearic compositions. In many ways it's a startling about-turn, but one that comes heartily recommended.
Review: There's no denying the credentials of British techno veterans James Ruskin and Mark Broom, or the immense potential of their occasional collaborative project, The Fear Ratio. Having previously impressed with some joint club-friendly ventures, this album sees the duo straying into home listening territory with a pleasingly eclectic set that delights in defying preconceptions. Thrillingly, Lightbox variously touches on crackling dub techno, Sepalcure-ish dubstep wonkiness, Plaid-ish IDM experimentalism, Detroit style melodic techno futurism and Instra:Mental-ish bass-scapes. Such worthy eclecticism rarely works, but thanks to the duo's immaculate production and ear for melody, Lightbox makes perfect sonic sense.