Review: Steven Porter: easily the funniest alias we've heard in a long time. No, people; this ain't the American, early noughties progressive house legend who once famously described his style of music as 'Porterhouse'. In all seriousness: this is the collaborative project of Japanese artists Yuji Kondo and Katsunori Sawa who have appeared previously with their extreme noise terror for the likes of DJ Nobu's Bitta and Berlin's Weevil Neighbourhood. On the Superbad EP they give us the bleak body bashing industrial textures of "Dwell In Hell" and the Sunn O))) sounding black metal guitar drone of "Wild Pitch". Elsewhere, the brutal futurist extremism of "Ignorance Reins" calls to mind classic British Murder Boys.
Review: It's as if throughout the production process and mastering session of Profligate's Can't Stop Shaking EP faulty connections and loose wiring were intended to give the two tracks a distinctly broken timbre. The title track, infected with a T.V-static buzz, marches with the most basic, but effective, industrial back beat drums, while classic New York electro synths offer a "Can't Stop Shaking" its melody. "Dormant" on the other hand is more frenetic in its arrangement, as megaphone vocals treated to a band-pass filter are embedded into a gauzy crowd of harsh textures and arpeggiated chords that ebb and flow between the despondent and uplifting.
Review: There's a tongue in cheek sensibility and an air of confrontation to much that James Donadio does as Prostitutes which made him more than suited to Powell's Diagonal label when the Cleveland artist debuted on the label last year. It's nice to see Donadio back with the Simple Minds-riffing Ecstasy, Crashing Beats & Fantasy and contributing one of the final Diagonal records of 2014, a year that's been most successful for both artist and label. Donadio has said in interviews Powell tries to encourage him to take a more explicit approach to the dancefloor and that's evident on this quartet of Prostitutes tracks. The curdling acid of "Dollars To DMs" and the faltering bleep electro of "Side Effects Of Living" are particularly potent Prostitutes productions!
Review: As Psynote, Argentine producer Franco Cinelli released a couple of quietly impressive 12" singles in 2013 and 2014, but the project has lain dormant ever since. Here he re-launches it via a rather impressive return to the mighty Chiwax. Arguably the highlight is flipside "Acid Rescue", a formidably hypnotic dub techno outing rich in angular electronic pulses that runs for 14 mesmerizing minutes. That said, we're also enjoying Cinelli's A-side outings, where spacey and lo-fi electro jam "Noise Invaders" - check the wild synth solos and pitch-bend action - is followed by the deep space bleeps and sweaty ghetto-tech drums of "Cosmic War".
Review: New Sydney-based label Deep Seeded has a clear mission to subvert conventions about club music, and new signing ptwiggs is right in there with the kind of otherworldly grime weirdness that you might find around the likes of Visionist, Rabit and other such sonic tinkerers. There's plenty of brutality at work on "Day Of Wrath", while "Exuviae" aims for something airier while getting sideswiped by distortion and trance leads. There are calmer moments, but it doesn't take long for intense levels of sound design, sampling and raucous processing to shake up the situation.
Review: Andrea Porcu's ROHS! label has been a long time fixture in the ambient field, from net label origins to limited CDr and vinyl releases from a host of respected underground operators. This latest release, two years in the making, features two original tracks from PURL. These sublime ambient pieces, "Slow Poem" and "Cellar Door," move in slow, atmospheric ripples of submerged rhythm and glacial melodics, giving plenty of space for inventive remixes from Segue, Wanderwelle and many more. It's a perfect double pack of dreamy drifters for the chill-out room crowd to sink into.
Review: Martin Jenkins dons the Pye Corner Audio alias once more, transferring to Death Waltz in order to deliver the soundtrack to an imaginary horror film. It's naturally an all-analogue affair, with Jenkins making the most of his impressive collection of vintage synths, analogue drum machines and effects units. There's much to enjoy from start to finish. Check, for example, the ghostly chords, foreboding bassline and spacey electronics of "Do You Hear Then", the creepy, Carpenter-ish horror-ambience of "It May Not Be Real", the evocative late night paranoia of "Descent" - which is similar in tone to some of Jonny Jewel's soundtrack work - and the clattering dancefloor throb of "The Spiral", whose bassline, beats and darting melodies are just begging to be played over a booming club soundsystem.
Review: And just like that, France's Kump label is born. The newly formed crew make for some pretty promising prospects if this debut EP is anything to go by, and they've started flying off our shelves with the same sort of zesty energy found across its five killers! Thankfully, this isn't yet another deep house joint and, one the contrary, it provides us with some seriously fresh strains of house music built for the next decade. Ricco's opener "Gilbert & George" is a punchy, mid-tempo pulser with a subtly acidic flow, and Pletnev's "Thunder" follows beautifully with the same sort of beat, but comparatively tamer harmonies. On the flip, Ju-Ju83 gets all sombre and industrial on "Untimely End", while "Nirvana" by Roe Deers offers a totally different sort of 'sad', and Markus Gibbs's "Dernier Souffle" manages to blend mid-90's acid with something that, well, we can't quite put our finger on...
Review: Few records could sound better suited to Emotional Rescue's reissue remit than soft rock / synth pop artists turned sound healers Chris Spheeris and Paul Voudouris. "Passage" was a commission by a company doing biofeedback therapy who wanted a soundtrack for their clients' treatment, resulting in a gem of early American ambient music. Originally released in 1982 and now lovingly restored, artwork and all, Spheeris and Voudouris' three lengthy compositions are as soothing as the remit demanded. Whatever your internal ails, there's restorative qualities in these pieces that can't help but do good, even as a pure pleasure trip to let yourself melt into.
Review: Los Angeles based producer Alex Gray aka D/P/I of CHANCEIMAG.es returns, this time on French imprint Shelter Press with more avant electronics excursions on the Composer LP. Thee seven sound collages are said to be an experiment in rhythm, where human error is introduced to basic sounds (such as a djembe or conga) via midi controllers, introducing complex processes and effects which naturally developed into compositions. Gray himself hopes his album "can act as a beacon of creativity for future generations, who are currently being completely saturated by marketing content for products and media that will do nothing but confuse and distract them.
Stanislav Tolkachev - "While You Are Drawing A Butterfly" (2:10)
Hoavi - "Aya Horizon" (3:57)
Review: Crimean label Krym Mryk returns with its sophomore release: a Various Artists collection putting the spotlight on several top musicians from Russia and Ukraine as well as a few newcomers to the scene. Highlights come fast and thick throughout; we're particularly loving the grinding cyclicality of Rim Menko's "Illusion", beatless yet hypnotic arpeggio workouts ("Amb Day Out" and "November Bad") by Pavel Milyakov (Buttechno), man of the hour Stanislav Tolkachev with slow-mo entrancer "While You Are Drawing A Butterfly" and Hoavi's "Aya Horizon", which closes the LP with its sublime ambience.
Review: For the latest release on the weird and wonderful Udacha label, Moscow based artist and producer Vasiliy Stepanov aka P SH steps up to the plate. With a selection of abstract and warped electronics, the Russian artists presents a wide variations of cuts, including pop, dub, soul, fourth world, tribal, comedic and all other distinctive and magical vibes. With highlight tracks such as Naam Drops, Indigo Swamp and pretty much every composition, the LP should appeal to all the lovers of the other dimensions
Review: Given that the Axel Libeert-helmed Pablo's Eye project has been running continuously since the late 1980s, it's perhaps unsurprising that Stroom has found it hard to put out just one retrospective of the Belgian collective's work. In fact, "Dark Matter" is the third (and final) part of a retrospective trilogy that has brilliantly shed new light on Libeert and company's work. Experimental, atmospheric and largely creepy, the showcased material variously touches on high-minded percussion music, slowly shifting ambient, Berlin school soundscapes, neo-classical-tinged global fusion, smoky downtempo grooves, the kind of intensely paranoid fare we'd expect from Dominick Fernow, and scattergun electronic dub.
Review: The Horo label wouldn't be complete without the mischievous industrial patterns of Pact Infernal, a mysterious artist who specialises in all things on the grey end of the scale. Infernality is the artist's second LP for the imprint and, compared to his debut CD album, this dwells on much vaster, more cinematic landscapes that remind us of Prurient's top material. The A-side, a cavernous stretch of earth that goes from "Purification" to "Meditations", has been constructed with the notion of tribalism very much front of mind, and this builds at a constant rate to reach the climax of the B-side. "Principles" heads back to the nether zone with its eerie swarms of bass, while "Infernality" drops the listener into a thick swamp of loose beats and mind-bending background effects. The second vinyl follows the same steady path to all-out doom, dipping and rising at every turn with the help of powerful bass recipes floating in mid-air. It's an album of gloom, passion, dread and euphoria, all at the same time. Excellent stuff.