Review: Ali Wells's Perc Trax has done incredibly well over the years, and in fact, this latest EP (the third in the series) marks the label's ten year anniversary! Patrick Sottrop aka Kareem drops "Just When You Thought It Was Over" on the A-side, unleashing a militant and subtly dubbed-out warhead for the peak time hours, while Wells himself touches down as Perc with the stormy, wide-eyed sound sculpture that is "Volley". Surprisingly, the kick drum - a menacing pound to the head - only pops up well into the track, leaving space for all other sorts of atmospherics and distortion to surface. Excellent, as per usual.
Review: Chicago born, Brooklyn based producer Max Ravitz is quite known for his dusty goth(am) house and techno experiments; easily recognised by their brazenly compressed/saturated analogue aesthetic that sound like live jams. It's more of the same on his new offering: A side cut "Learned Behaviour" is the most 'straight-ahead' we've ever heard Ravitz with this tunnelling, hypnotic and absolutely heads down affair that soon evolves via some classic house chord progressions and mad 909 snare theatrics. The bittersweet and melancholic "Diminished Feeling" is more typical of his earlier style on such heralded EPs like his Opal Tapes debut Body Issues: the sound of a lonely Bushwick loft space on a Friday night. The lush and atmospheric "Looking Outside" provides a welcome ambient moment for this fine EP. Yet more fantastic work from him this year, following up the three part epic Several Shades of The Same Color on Ghostly International.
Nocturnal Emissions - "Even The Good Times Are Bad (1983)" (4:33)
Innyster - "Todis" (6:08)
Review: Contort Yourself reaches its sixth installment with yet another era spanning gathering of post-punk and industrial oddities for the most deviant of dancefloors to digest. In the contemporary corner we have Penelope's Fiance, a promising industrial artist from Greece. Meanwhile on the B-side, Nigel Ayers as Nocturnal Emissions takes us back to 1983 with the utterly chilling "Demon Circuits Bloodbath" and "Even The Good Times Are Bad". L.I.E.S boss Ron Morelli steps up as U202 to remix "Even The Good Times Are Bad" as a death march of malevolent percussion.
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: Patrick Keel started his career as a drummer with various unsuccessful bands, before buying a synthesizer in 1980 and forming "one-man-band" The Pool. While he released numerous albums and singles over a five-year period, it's 1983 single "Dance It Down" that has stood the test of time. This Dark Entries reissue features the punchy, electro-influenced new-wave original and spacey Dub from the U.S 12", plus the lesser-known European Mix (closer in style to Italo-disco, though actually made by a Belgian). Arguably even better is flipside "Jamaica Running", where glistening melodies cluster themselves around a proto-dancehall rhythm, and its' stoned, pitched-down alternative mix, "Jamaica Resting".
Nothing Is True; Everything Is Permitted (instrumental) (4:54)
Breakin' Indistortion (instrumental) (4:16)
A Dirty Song (instrumental) (5:05)
Review: Dark Entries know their stuff when it comes to '80s synth pop reissues, and this latest reissue of Carlos Peron's Dirty Songs single is a sign of just how deep into the crates these guys get. Originally out over thirty years ago, these instrumentals are still total killers and will go down a storm in most DJ sets which venture out of the 4/4 formula. "Nothing Is True; Everything Is Permitted" and "Breakin' Indistortion" are particularly fresh and must have truly cut the edge back then: metallic drum machine beats and sparse melodies ring away into the cavernous ambience created by Peron. Wonderful and highly recommended.
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: Made in the winter and spring of 2018 in 'edenic' Altadena, California: P & D Records co-founder (and Suzanne Kraft collaborator) P Relief is back with the label's third release. The now Berlin based producer serves up dreamy and mesmerizing lo-fi house on the splendid Idlehour EP, as heard on terrific jams such as the wonderful opener "Club Fever" while the zeitgeist of early '90s IDM is captured stylishly on the mysterious "Broken Bell" as well as on the dreamy, ambient house "Lolli".
Review: Last year, Dark Entries reissued Lena Platonos' 1986 album "Lepidoptera", a beautiful, minimalistic set forged out of picturesque piano motifs and the composer's own surrealist Greek poetry. Now the lauded San Francisco label presents a quartet of new reworks of tracks from that album. There's a more dancefloor-centric feel throughout, with the standout revisions - in our eyes at least - coming from Anatolian Weapons, whose take on "Cyaniris" is a throbbing, dark synth-pop treat, and Pasiphae. Her version of "Araschnia Levana" brilliantly re-casts the track as a heavy, all-action dark electro workout tailor made for dark basements in The Hague.
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: The latest Acido release sees the full debut of Karl Lukas Pettersson, aka Gothenburg's premier electro exponent Lukas Karl Pettersson who previously featured on Dynamo Dreesen's label back in 2007 under his familiar Luke Eargoggle alias. As Karl Lukas Pettersson, the Swede is evidently looking to explore a sound less trodden with both "Paradise Island" and "Travel The World" crafty concoctions formed from various elements of primitive wave and Das Ding style electro that sound convincingly like they were exhumed from DAT tapes in the late '80s. If you are a fan of Acido, you'll no doubt be used to such stylistic deviations from the label, but Dark Entries and Minimal Wave fans should also check these cuts!
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.