Review: Despite his self-proclaimed hatred of nightclubs, Sheffield misery-guts Richard "Crooked Man" Barratt is rather good at making dance music. That's not to say that the former Sweet Exorcist and All Seeing I man's second album, "Crooked House", is a riotous romp full of wonky, low-slung, industrial-tinged house and techno slammers, though. While rooted in Yorkshire's traditionally raw, alien, bleep-laden and bass-heavy take on those styles, the album's genius lies in Barratt's ability to write surprisingly soulful, off-kilter songs, co-produced by fellow veterans Mick Ward and David Lewin, and voiced by some seriously talented singers (Amy Douglas and Pete Simpson included). The results are undeniably magical, with "Here On Earth", "Walls", "Take It All Away", "Every Killer Needs a Friend" and trippy "Echo Loves Narcissus" amongst the highlights.
Review: Under the NHK yx Koyken alias, Japanese producer Kouhei Matsunaga has made some of the most arresting experimental techno of recent times. Here he lands on DFA following acclaimed releases on L.I.E.S, Computer Club and DFA. Interestingly, he's used this second full-length excursion to largely step away from the dancefloor - a couple of tough-as-teak outsider techno workouts aside - instead diving headfirst into the world of fuzzy electronic experimentation. As a result, the eight showcased cuts are even wonkier, weirder and more imaginative than his previous work, touching on drone, Autechre style IDM, PAN-style modular oddities and noise-laden industrial soundscapes. Expect to be challenged and entertained in equal measure.