Review: French producer 1977 aka Matsa, delivers a bold and subtle blending of ambient textures, deep pads and raw rhythms perfectly mixed with some minimal sequences. In Brief, a fine and complete piece of electronic music, made with constant attention to detail. Starting out with the hauntingly emotive ambience of "Tkg" where sub bass pulsations lurk between the crackling of surface noise, pitch shifted vocals and transcendental chilling pads, then the dusty and emotive deep house of "Soso" which is informed equally by Fred P as it is by the likes of Lawrence. On the flip, there's the rather Fred P sounding "Mondat" which is the highlight a smoothly emotive deep house number while "Toine" gets dubbier and subterranean in a way that UntilMyHeartStops fans will appreciate.
Review: London label No More Dreams are back with more dry-as-a-bone techno reductions by Sweden's Axel Backman. This will appeal to fans of Waveform Transmissions era Jeff Mills (particularly on the savage and cyclical grind of "93") or classic Regis and Surgeon. Shadowy British duo Rezzett get onboard for a remix of "94" on the flip , where the Trilogy Tapes affiliated artists replace the gutsy tribal stomp of the original with a deep and slow burning rendition that slithers away beneath dense tape saturation and hiss -much like a vivid dream sequence captured to VHS. Bold stuff indeed. Tip!
Review: New label Tell Zero Records hits the ground running with a 10" ambient white label that really impresses. There is some lush, slow motion tribalism on the A side that dives deep into the exotic. On the flip, the second beatless journey features some sombre and evocative Olafur Arnalds style piano playing over some haunting field recordings assembled into a captivating collage.
Review: Alien atmospheres, bassy sonar blips, crackling ambience, fizzing white noise and a barely-there groove makes the A-side of this second Nautil 12" a delight for ambient, industrial, drum and bass, techno and by and large experimental lovers alike. 943 has all the hallmarks of a Felix K production only without the rolling D&B beats, but who needs them when you have spatial textures like this! Toolshop drums with the rhythm of a hammer hitting a nail out of time provides the B-side with a awkward groove while dubby stabs form and disappear in the background behind the sound of hissing pistons from a make-believe steam works.
Review: Chicago label Chained Library present some contemplative minimal noise experiments courtesy of the mysterious Agnes who presents the 012016002001 EP and it is mastered by the one and only Rashad Becker: which is fitting really. Fans of Becker's recent works will really appreciate these extreme and at times challenging sonic workouts on both sides, approximately 15 minutes each. Both extended pieces are reductionist electronic sound art at its finest. Very intrigued as to what this imprint is up to next.
Review: If you were one of the lucky few to pick up the illicit compilation A Few More Things From Ivan Smagghe (And Friends) the dapper French selector put out a few years ago you should be familiar with this one. "Civil Defense" by Danny Alias first emerged in 1984, a strange proto-everything-that-has-come-since track which was spun by the great Ron Hardy and has been a long term favourite of Smagghe and his KTDJ cohorts. It gets another lease of life thanks to Smagghe and Leon Oakey's always entertaining Les Disques De La Mort label with no less than five different versions to choose from, including a re-edit from the aforementioned Ron Hardy.
Review: Gravity Graffiti present more mesmerising sounds from far-flung reaches, this time showcasing the music of debutant Thai producer Anurak Boonliang. According to the label, Boonliang is steeped in classical Thai music training, and now applies his background to drum computers and synthesisers. The results are astounding, characterized by nimble melodic and percussive programming that moves between regimented rhythmic shapes and more free-flowing patterns with grace and elegance. "Reality" brings Boonliang's roots into focus with a field recording of what we assume is a traditional Pi Phat musical ensemble. If you're in the mood for fresh electronics unbound by the familiar structures embedded in Western culture, look no further.
Review: Appleblim teams up with the Middle Eastern label Boogie Box once more for some hybridized explorations on the cutting edge of soundsystem music. "Vurstep" is a wildly psychedelic banger that keeps the rhythms broken while the sound design levels tap into the same delirious vein as his ALSO work with Second Storey. "Dream Wisdom" takes things in a smoother direction, riding on laid back breaks and plush threads of melody in a vintage ambient techno style. Shed steps up to remix "Vurstep" and delivers one of his pointed masterclasses in stripped, UK-leaning techno, and then Forest Drive West trips the whole thing out with a heavily dubbed meditation.
Review: Speak to anyone who lived through them about the glory days of IDM and German producer Arovane (aka Uwe Zahn) is probably one of the first names they will happily reel off. Between the late '90s and his apparent retirement in 2004, Zahn was responsible for birthing a clutch of classic IDM longplayers like Tides and Lillies, the 2004 LP for City Centre Offices that seemed to signal his withdrawl from music. However, the production bug bit him again in 2013 and there has been a steady stream of Arovane output leading up to this Aarlenpeers EP. Issued on the Touchin' Bass label operated by self professed Arovan fan Andrea Parker, these two cuts bristle and pulse with abstracted electronic life in a manner one expects from Zahn. "Il_Eth" is quite epic.
Review: The seventh and final instalment of De:Tuned's brilliant Unboxed Brain series - an unashamed tribute to 1990s IDM and ambient techno featuring contributions from many of the artists who defined that scene - is predictably special. It features a slew of new remixes of previously released tracks, plus "Monolith", a previously unreleased ambient track from the Future Sound of London that's every bit as weird, wonderful and out there as the duo's greatest work. Elsewhere, Kirk Degiorgio (as Future/Past) and Mark Broom both drag B12's "World's End" towards the dancefloor (the latter providing a punchy electro re-make), while The Black Dog provides a brilliantly blissful, string-drenched ambient interpretation of Scanner's "Eros".
Review: Bambooman (real name Kirk Barley) is a London based producer who presents his fourth release on Matthew Herbert's Accidental imprint - which follows up last year's terrific long player, Whispers. His new offering is the trippy minimal techno kicker "Ricochet", with its sparse arrangement revolving around a stuttering bassline and nasty chord stabs awash in plate reverb. On the flip, the man himself Herbert steps up to deliver a wacky and glitched out remix in his own truly idiosyncratic style once again.
Review: Credo boss Alex Bau returns with some deep dub techno excursions on the fittingly titled Echo Echo imprint - a new Echocord sublabel. With previous releases on top labels like CLR, Kombination Research and Cocoon - you can trust this veteran A.M. specialist. From the glacial and cavernous "Clouds" and the introspective dub of "Contour" nailing that Basic Channel vibe of old. On the flip, we get two versions of "Zenstory". The first (prelude) being a chilling ambient version while the second is a stripped back epic that builds full of tension and suspense throughout.
Review: Tucked away in his Peak District hideaway, Jack Lever has been laying down sumptuous fusions of dusty ambience and lo-fi electronica for some time now. He first rose to prominence via a fine 12" on Apollo in 2013, before heading back to Derbyshire to self-release music from the archives on cassette and download. This return to wax is well worth a listen, if only for the drowsy, 6AM ambience of "Convair", which wraps shortwave radio crackle and yearning chord progressions around gentle acoustic guitars. "Torches" is a blissful and dusty outsider house shuffler, while lead cut "Roads" is a terrific, dancefloor-tempo trip-hop head-nodder rich in distorted guitars, cascading instrument solos and beefy dub disco bass.
Review: Cong Burn made a mighty splash with its first release, clearly flaunting the kind of wares you'd expect to hear from Livity Sound alumni or other such esteemed techno renegades. The second installment is no slouch either, featuring a new cast of crooked creators offering up their wares for the modern mutant dancefloor. BFTT has a weighty low end thrum powering "Public/Private", while Lack takes things in a scuffed and nimble direction. Chekov pushes out into more experimental pastures with the broken beats and displaced sound design of "Celeste" and Howes creates a wonderful strain of mystical deep house for darkened souls. Each one of these tracks is loaded with flair and personality, yards ahead of your average generic knock offs and presenting something with real merit to the convoluted world of dance music.
Review: Big Hands, big heart, big ideas; Milan man now based in London Andrea Bonalumi blesses us with his biggest release to date on Beat Machine. Fractured, frazzled and fried in future innovation, we're blindsided by the offbeat bubbles on "Prequel" and shunted and stuttered by disco freakery on "More Than Love". Elsewhere the title track boils things down to a much sludgier, warped and weird shuffle, "Tensegrity" reimagines rave for a modern day jilted generation while "Kick Blood" kicks us down a twisted UKG rabbit hole. "Blood" concludes this extensive extended player both in its breakbeat original form and gun-toting instrumental grime take from Walton. Big.
Review: With releases on a who's who list of labels that are pushing experimental, underground house and techno including L.I.E.S, Creme Organisation, Echovolt and Strange Life, William Burnett has been steadily putting out releases that have gained a lot of respect without having to shout too loud about it. So much so that as well as running his own stella WT Records label, William is now often cited as a producer's producer. Deep and full of dub aesthetics that encompasses a world of it's own, his music is not just driven by a need to keep the floor moving, but are also about taking your headspace somewhere else. Progressing things a stage further is the Black Deer project. Recently launched, but in gestation for some time, it's introspective slant, plus loose referencing to his upbringing in Texas, allows William more freedom for experimentation. The Last Tortuga is taken from the same sessions that yielded the Willie Burns The Overlord EP on Trilogy Tapes as well as Black Deer's Trail Of Tears EP on Rush Hour, this 6 track EP has been due on the label for sometime, but it's been worth the wait as his sound has developed and expanded to take in ambient, drone and krautrock and highlights his musicianship in a new light.
Review: New York's Black Dice had to land on their native LIES imprint at some point. It was only a matter of time before label head Ron Morelli picked them up, and he's done so in fine style. The American Tapes, DFA, and Paw Tracks casuals are made up of Eric Copeland, Aaron Warren and Bjorn Copeland, and the trio like to get a little wacky over their coldwave grooves. "Big Deal" is a true post-punk reincarnation, a track that manages to pick out everything that was right about the early 80's by adding in elements of noise, rock, and a little techno. A monumental tune. "Last Laugh" is more dubwise in its approach, where a distorted guitar sways from side to side amid a fuzzy whirlpool of aqueous sonics and dusty percussion. A great release from LIES, and a fresh addition to their more usual house and techno onslaught.
Review: Romanian producer Borusiade finally hits Ostgut Ton's Unterton sub-label, placing the artist on a clear platform on which to showcase his devious blend of techno sounds to a less minimally-minded dance crowd. This is tough dance-floor material that should be churned out at peak time. His strain of industrialism is loud and audible on "Forewarned Is Forearmed", a steely, broken techno rhythm that gathers more and more pace as its deathly sonics cave in, while "Common Ancestor" pounces on fluidly without the help of any kick drums. "Doublethink" is an ode to 1984 dystopia, a wide soundscape of liquid drums and eerie melodies swirling over head, leaving "Atlas" to ponder in a dark, intricate whirlpool of sludgy melodies and broken percussion shots. Techno-approved and fully recommended.
Review: Gritty, abrasive and grey-scaled noise fluxions from Daz Quayle and Tony Snowden for the seventh instalment of the Aperture series. The mood is tense and the sounds are cold. It's six tracks of filthy machine noise straight form the gutter. Seriously though, apart from the usual suspects in the game such as Prurient, Kevin Drumm, Whitehouse etc, this is some of the best noise-driven techno music we've heard in a while. Each track brings something special to the picture but the stand-outs are definitly "Sub Clinical" for its menacing rhythmic roll, and "Blood On Your Hands" for its originality - an utterly wacked-out bassline amid all that percussive storm. Sick.