Review: You can't help but be impressed by the trajectory evident in Agnes Obel's work since she first stopped us dead in tracks on 2010's debut, "Philharmonics". Instrumentally, she's still a maestro capable of grabbing you by the tear ducts with stunning, graceful melodies. But lyrically, she might be on course to becoming one of the most expressive we've got. And that's something to treasure. "Myopia" doesn't feel celebratory, mind. In fact anything but. It's an atmospherically dark, nocturnal journey into equally dark themes, told with nighttime language. From asking corpses what the other side is like, ahead of their physical bodies being lowered into the lightless ground ("Island Of Doom"), to the pain and frustrations of insomnia (the appropriately-named "Broken Sleep"), it's not an album that will ready you for the arrival of spring, but it's easy to find yourself falling for its understated melancholia.
Review: Despite building his reputation as a creator of tough, left-of-centre club material, Objekt is smart enough to realize that the full-length format offers more room for experimentation and personal musical exploration. Like its predecessor, 2014's "Flatland", "Cocoon Crush" rarely goes in search of dancefloor thrills, instead offering up a refreshingly eclectic, fearlessly experimental take on off-kilter electronica that not only draws heavily on IDM, glitch-hop and ambient, but also regularly veers from glassy-eyed, melodious positivity, to intense, paranoid darkness. It's a blend that guarantees great results, and we're not surprised if he jettisons functional club music for good.
Review: Those who've been following the evolution of the Thrill Jockey label should already be familiar with Oval, an artist whose glitchy, mind-altering fusions of leftfield electronica, IDM and experimental rock have featured on the admirable imprint since 1998. "Scis" is the trio-turned-solo act's first album for almost six years. Quirky and off-kilter throughout, it expertly mixes and mangles Boards Of Canada style melodies, squally (and occasionally riotous) modified guitar sounds, wildly cut-up loops, eccentric aural textures, beats that refuse to sit still and fuzzy electronic motifs that sound like an experimental take on the micro-house sound of the mid 2000s. It's deliciously hard to pin down, but also hugely immersive and beguiling.