Review: Virtuoso musician Jon Hopkins and Kelly Lee Owens are a perfect compliment for each other on their new EP for Domino. Both are leaders in their field and used to exploring outside the usual lines, which is what they do here. "Luminous Spaces" was meant to be an Owens remix of a track from Hopkins' 2018 album SIngularity but instead she recorded new synths and vocals for it. The result is sparkling bit of melodic and astral techno that gets you lost in the lushness as you sink ever further into a trance. "Luminous Beings" is a deeper anymore thoughtful vision that makes a different but equally real impact.
Review: As part of the mandatory Record Store Day celebrations, Young Turks pull together productions from Jamie XX, Four Tet, Koreless, and John Talabot for a limited 7" release. The more attentive followers of Young Turks will know the music here originates from a commission by artists Sofi Mattioli and Rebecca Salvadori who enlisted the four to provide short compositions for their film Continuum. The two minute productions were available to download for free at the time, but Young Turks obviously felt there was an audience out there that would want the music in a more tangible, and collectible, format. Of the four, it's the rather epic "Horizon" from Koreless that hits the hardest.
Review: It's always good to see a split release from two artists whose track records (no pun intended) make it very difficult to predict where the new wares will fit. Which is exactly the case with this one, given K15's oeuvre name-checks imprints like Wotnot Music, Eglo and Wild Oats, while SMDB has appeared on Funkineven's Apron and the always great Lo Recordings in recent years. Needless to say, then, if we can rely on one thing it's that everything on this expansive, obscure collection of curveballs will be deep and richly textured. From 'Pace & Time''s downtempo barroom jazz, to the shuffling broken beats and waves of synth on 'Dry Mango (Part 2)', the confusing beat structures and delicate piano play of 'Earth State' to 'Syntherlude''s beat-less, science fiction tune up, it's all well made stuff.
Review: In advance of release, Diagonal and Elon Katz have been particularly mysterious when it comes to the contents of The Human Pet. Instead of the usual press release, they simply emailed journalists a bizarre list of "care instructions" for said mythical companion. Katz, who rose to prominence as part of Streetwalker and White Car, is something of a bombastic, electronic eccentric, and The Human Pet is ostensibly a pop album dragged through several hedges backwards. Expect impassioned, stylized vocals, twisted boogie synths, scattergun electronics, bizarre beats, breakcore style cut-up madness, and crusty special effects. Oh, and discernible nods to EBM, industrial and Autechre.
Review: Detroit Underground label head Kero returns to his sonic roots with the first of the Detroit Map Series originally featured on the limited DUTT-181 Series functional record player designed by Neubau Berlin. As a kick-start, Kero reveals Highways-a 5-track extended player of (abstract) electronics that is cleverly pulled together with a downbeat flow and tracks aptly sub-titled as major freeway arteries of the Motor City.
Review: Chris Weeks has been building up the Kingbastard catalogue for a long time now, generally taking a self-reliant approach in the underground electronica scene where CD-r releases reign supreme. He's been a key figure on Ambidextrous since the label launched back in 2008, and now he's committed to wax with a range of crunched up leftfield sonics for the machine-loving crowd. "Anxiety" is a melodic cut with a house-minded structure, but there's a lot of production acrobatics and compositional swerves taking place within this framework. "Scatterbrain" is more overtly out there, tapping up the kind of heavily processed sounds that producers like Paradroid have championed in the past. "Data_Loss" strike a heavy blow somewhere between dubstep and electro, and "Data_Ctrl" ups the tempo for a rabble-rousing exercise in mind-bending machine music.
Review: Started in 2013, Mollusca Vinyl is a Brooklyn based electronic reocrd label specializing in minimal style, analog laden music. Our folks believe in pushing the vinyl medium as art. This set of compositions has been described as Balearic downtempo with pastoral departures. Written while on several beaches, it suggests the definition of lackadaisical make out music, emoting euphoric post pillow talk feelings-of-the-raw through minimalist synth phrasing, ambient texturing and isolated beats. Artwork by Doroniyam at Azuri Cafe. Mastered by Jason at Transition Mastering UK. Printed at Brooklyn Phono.
Review: Vester Koza has remained quiet as of late but he's back with his singular brand of deep house on his own Maslo imprint. While his previous 12"s were coated in a relatively upbeat and funked-out flavour, the PRISN EP feels darker, more expansive and ethereal, where Koza prefers the use of drones and abstract electronics as a base for his grooves. "Deciveid", for example, takes a broken, hypnotic beat and places it over subtle twists of noise, whereas "Bind_Dream_Service" is slow, jagged and lacking of a 4/4 beat...it's Vester Koza's industrial side coming out to play.
Review: Kreidler and Automat have unconsciously kept the Krautrock heritage alive, with both sets of outfits mystically blending more traditional instruments together with nutty electronic twerkings. For their Record Store Day special, they've joined forces with Genesis P-Orridge, formerly of Throbbing Gristle, and have given us a magnetic split release. Automat's tracks are mechanical but nonetheless organic in texture, rendered even more fragile by P-Orridge's trademark rantings. Kreidler, on the other hand, go for a more classic approach, where electronic guitars are twisted and turned into an absolute frenzy amid slicing drum breaks and subtle electronic manipulations. Needless to say, this is a strong release from Bureau B.
Review: The first of this two parter on Lockertmatik is fascinating indeed: it explores a wide range of tempos and draws on jazz, drum & bass, techno and ambient in intriguing ways. "Jazz Cops" is superbly silky, with a sense of tension in the wandering bassline and loose piano chords and "Laid Back in M" then slows down and gets all mysterious, with an alien lead and unsettling keys speaking of some Blade Runner style dystopia. Last of all comes the hall of mirrors that is "Situation Hullkurve" with edgy keys and jazz drums all hanging in mid-air and keeping you in utter suspense.
Review: Los Angeles has firmly established itself as one of America's electronic music capitals over the last ten years, with the city particularly fertile in more experimental ends, where rave, urban and downtempo collide in a haze of found sounds, samples and original loops. Kutmah pretty much encapsulates this point. Melding elements of hip hop, post-punk and industrial, 'New Appliance' is basically the producer's new calling card - a mini masterpiece that's so tight and well-executed it leaves no questions as to the creator's ability. 'Ramallah''s intoxicating Arabic references, crackling recordings of bells, haunting chants and exotic flutes. 'Stoned In Brixton' cries out for a sunset to soundtrack, nodding to the productions of DJ Krush or Bibio, with the latter similarly invoked on 'Tres Flores'. Smoked-out innovations by the kilo.
Review: Ryuichi Sakamoto's latest collaborative release sees him join forces with Kukangendai, a Tokyo-based experimental rock trio who've been putting odd and inspired releases in their native Japan since 2006. A-side "Zureru" offers a perfect blend of both parties' styles, with Sakamoto adding trippy production and mind-altering effects to Kukangendai's loose, post-rock sounds, free-jazz drums and wayward vocalizations. Over on side B, we're treated to two versions of "Suuji": Kukangendai's hypnotic, wayward and ear-pleasing original take, and a sublime re-interpretation by Sakamoto that re-imagines the track as a slowly pulsing journey into intergalactic ambient territory, where ghostly vocal snippets and shards of re-contextualized guitar drift across the sound space.
Review: The follow-up to legendary Marcello Giombini's cult Computer Disco album, I Adore Commodore was created to sex up the new home computer and relate its music to the clubs. Complete with a sassy video, the album sees the electronic pioneer reconstruct and recompose soundtracks of the games at the time on a Commodore 64. The results are incredible and pack much more of a punch than the processing power might suggest. The spiralling arpeggio and slapbass of "Jupiter Lander", the fright night theatrical funk of "Space Invaders" and the seafront silliness of "Depth Charge" are just some of the whimsical, funky highlights across an untarnished time capsule album that will bring back many memories for those around the 40 mark.
Review: Mistry enter album mode with a remarkable body of work from Kailin. A quantum leap from the floors the label has been denting, Kailin explores the post-club environment with dense weaves of textures and ghostlike vapours. Ambient in its nature yet spiked with fractured club echoes, it's an ultimately physical affair best experienced being as unphysical as possible. Highlights include the throbbing mechanical palpitations of "Chatter", the clunky glitches and alien designs of "Fracture" and the warped trickles and blurred cascades of "Disintegration". An intense move by all concerned.