Review: 2MR is a curious label, indeed. For starters, its founders Mike Simonetti and Mike Sniper have released just about all sorts of electronic music on it. The second release by Russian artist Kedr Livanskiy is just as nutty as her debut, except that this time we have even more sound experiments to play with. Mixing up lo-fi techno through the likes of "Razrushitelniy Krug" or "Winds Of May", together with grainy shades of house on "January Sun", and even broken-down echoes of post-hardcore with "Otvechai Za Slova" the artist has managed to create a truly captivating record, and perhaps also one of the freshest and most daring pieces of music that we've heard since the turn of the new year. Warmly recommended.
Review: Geir Jensson's debut album under the now familiar Biosphere alias, Microgravity, has long been considered something of a classic of the early '90s ambient boom. First released in 1991, it offered an icy but suitably atmospheric mix of chilly ambience, British-style "intelligent techno" and crystalline IDM. To celebrate 25 years since it was recorded (it was released a year later, in 1991), Geir Jensson has re-mastered it and, with the help of a successful crowd-funding campaign, pressed it onto a double CD minus the cross-fades and sound effects featured on the original pressing. Happily, Microgravity has lost none of its allure.
Review: Blundar is a label shrouded in mystery, although it seems aligned with artists like Lowtec and those orbiting crews like Smallville. The latest transmission on the dusty house imprint comes from STL, whose disheveled sounds is a natural fit for what has come before on Blundar. "Track 1" peers through a thick haze of smoke, exhaling pads and drones and keeping the bass pulsing throughout. The rest of the EP is given over to experimental and ambient tones, with the second track on Side B being an especially arresting piece loaded with melancholic contemplation. It's another strong addition to the Blundar repertoire, and another example of STL's skills and adaptability in the studio.
Review: Master of ambient spaces and far out places, long-time Finnish producer Sasu Ripatti (aka Vladislav Delay) blesses us once again with another release, this from his 'Visa' period of unreleased tracks.
The first track out of the gate is a recognizable Vladislav Delay piece, but instead of gently flowing rivers of sound, instead we have a series of stiff, machine-like rhythms applied to his classic infinitely deep pads and ambient environmental sounds. It just continues to pile in more elements until becoming almost indistinguishable from his natural, organic flow. From there we move into somewhat more familiar territory but still unusually stripped down and mechanical for a Vladislav Delay joint. It's fascinating to see such an intricate songwriting process laid bare in such a way, often exposing each individual, nearly bottomless sound in isolation.
Deeper into the album, things veer into decidedly more abrasive and synthetic territory, at times becoming an almost unrecognizable artist for a moment, only to be eventually subsumed under layers of shifting ambience that could only be Sasu.
This austere minimalism makes these tracks some of the most hypnotic since the early 90s excursions, but at the same time seems to have left its organic, analog roots and melded with the harsh gridlocked modern sequencer. ~Clint Anderson
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Having worked with the likes of Don Cherry and Laurie Anderson, there's little doubting the credentials of Ramuntcho Matta. Emotional Rescue have tapped him up for some truly outernational jams that sport African percussion, skronky jazz tones and an engaging minimalism that's hard to resist. The fretless bass and exotic animal cries of "Ecoute" are especially appealing, while the squelchy sound design in "O Clapo" may well do funny things to all who hear it. It's a startlingly original record that serves as a perfect introduction to a lesser known figure in leftfield music with a great heritage behind him.
Your Beautiful Look Is Looping Endlessly In My Head (4:48)
Review: Having done such wonderful work alongside Wolf Muller on The Sound Of Glades album, Cass makes a welcome return with an expansive album release on Emotional Response. The German producer's ambient tendencies blossom here, occasionally meeting with laconic drums as on "U" but primarily dealing in huge swathes of melody. DJs will want to hold out for the dramatic pulse of "Ann", where a more pronounced drum set makes for one of the album's most club-ready moments. There's a strong variety of tones and moods across Youth Sessions, from the strafing arpeggios of "Running" to the bliss-out shapeless swirl of "Prismatic Prolog", and this ensures that the album will not dull with repeated listens.
After The Cremation (Area Green Green Grass version) (4:23)
Pankow (SW Electrofunk mix) (5:36)
Steamed Up Window (Skookum Reminiscence) (4:06)
Review: Mystery production unit UD returns to Kimochi, one of the more overlooked imprints of the last few years, with four new cuts and a rather fine selection of remixers to boot! The mood is pensive and the sounds are atmospheric throughout, where tracks like "Lollipop Robot" or "Adapter" stand somewhere between ambient and electro-acoustic. The remixes give the tracks slightly more dancefloor weight, and both Area Green Grass and label regular Skookum contribute with a set of pretty killer reinterpretations a-la outsider house, but the silent killer is most certainly SW's remix of "Pankow". The SUED records co-owner fixes up a wonderfully bizarre concoction of sounds and shapes, moulding them into a dubby, sparse and cinematic twister. Another fine slice of Kimochi, beautiful artwork and all.
Review: The Kimochi label has been steadily releasing quality output over the last four years and they've been responsible for introducing us to a pool of new talent from the ambient corners. This latest beautifully presented 12" comes in their usual house style and comes from UD, an unknown artist who has already released one EP for the label last year. "Muy Casera" starts things off with colourful minimalism thanks to its glitchy sonics, while "Meticulous" breaks the groove and takes the beeps to an irregular tempo. "After The Cremation" is looser and more heavily focussed on cinematic pads, whereas "Pankow" takes subtle bursts of noise and places them above grey-scaled low frequencies. There's some special appearances on the B-side in the form of two remixes by Leipzig's Mix Mup and Sued's SW: the former gives his own version of "NFL CC DUB", a slow and chuggy beat burning below mild pads, whereas the latter interpretation of "Dewy" contains that classic SUED sound, a bag of rickety percussion and rich soundscapes. Don't miss it, gone before you know it.
Review: Tim Hecker's music has a way of consistently confounding expectations thanks to his ever shifting nature, and Virgins is no exception. While 2011's Ravedeath 1972 felt weighed down by its sandblasted sound that brought to mind a ravaged landscape, and last year's Instrumental Tourist was filled with subtle Eastern influences, Virgins comes with a sound that feels somehow elegiac; opener "Prism" places cacophonous organs stretched to infinity, while "Radiance" is as close as Hecker will get to the sound of an angelic chorus. Other moments prove more introspective, such as "Live Room Out", and the sullen piano keys of "Black Refraction". It's an album with the same instantly timeless quality of Fennesz's Venice, and comes highly recommended.
Review: KUMP's second multi-artist extravaganza - the Lyon-based label's first such exercise for two years -brings together tracks from a quintet of eccentric experimentalists. Clanking, horror-inspired creepiness is provided from the start via Jon The Baptist's lolloping "Hear No Evil", while those looking for some chugging, mid-tempo dancefloor sleaze should make a beeline for Maahrt's "Davardage". Elsewhere, Stove's "Chief of Nine Sisters" is an industrialist's take on tropical music with a suitably pagan twist, and Yssue and Yaws' contributions both sound like contemporary re-inventions of Nitzer Ebb style electronic body music (albeit with a touch more inherent looseness).
Review: Datawave is the project of Brussels based Gaetan Votion, who returns to Natural Sciences for the first time since 2017's "Submersion" - which was featured on their V/A Future Works Vol 3 compilation. Taking up where he left off last time, Votion explores the dark and dystopian realms of electro bass on this self-titled EP, taking the best of the genre's classic aesthetic, while delivering a stylish and contemporary edge. From the A side's introverted and futuristic thriller "Hidden Outpost", through to the high energy workout of "Stellar Wind" on the flip, this certainly proves to be one of the week's highlights in our electro releases.
Stay The Same (Blue Daisy Not Quite The Same remix)
Stay The Same (Mark Pritchard remix)
All In Forms (Letherette remix)
The Keeper (Banks remix)
Black Sands (Duke Dumont Grains Of Sand reconstruction edit - full length)
Eyesdown (feat Andreya Triana & DELS)
Review: Two years on from its initial release, Bonobo's much-loved Black Sands album got the remix treatment. While remix albums can be a bit hit and miss, Black Sands Remixed largely hits the spot - thanks in no small part to the A&R involvement of Eglo bossman Alexander Nut. The selection of remixers is open-minded and on-point, resulting in some near stunning interpretations. FaltyDL, Machinedrum and Cosmin TRG offer some decidedly floor-friendly rubs (the former's take on "All In Forms" delivering a great fusion of melancholic depth and skittering drums), while Arp101, Blue Daisy, Floating Points (in jazzwise mode) and fast rising youngster Lapalux turn in thrilling, sofa-friendly reworks.
Review: Bulgarian house wizard KINK is back and, of course, he's all about delivering the shadiest forms of dance floor music humanely possible. The man is a master at twisting and pushing house music to its very limits, something which is obvious from the start of "Soda Caustic", a nutty 4/4 banger boasting a curious new strain of acid at its core. "Synesthesia" barely even forms a groove out of its solitary bleeps and bass buds, whereas "Daddy Acid" takes a little poke at AFX's improbable mishmash of Goa trance and gabber junglism - we love this one. The B-side boasts "The Roots Of Techno", a kinetic array of machine noise and robotic beats, while "Antitune" makes some of Photek's early work seem antiquated by comparison. This EP has it all. Warmly recommended.
Review: Manni Dee might be best known for his upfront techno tackle on Perc Trax and the like, but he's also been quietly building up a separate identity as Nuances, and it's a world away from his dancefloor output. Following on from some choice album appearances on Bastakiya Tapes, it's up to Tabernacle to give the project its first outing on wax. While Tabernacle can have some range in their sound, this finds the label plunging wholeheartedly into ambient climes. Heavily processed textures and delicate chimes all feed into a truly evocative atmosphere loaded with significance. Ignore the familiar name behind the music - this is an album deserving attention all on its own.
Review: Kerry Leimer, or simply known as K. Leimer, has been at the forefront of the West Coast ambient / drone game since the mid-'70s, and it's a good thing that Vinyl On Demand has decided to compile a comprehensive amount of his work, because the original material is hell to find in its original format. The Germans have put together a vast amount of his sound sculptures from the years 1977-1980, the formative period of his Palace Of Lights imprint. This is a wide-eyed journey into sound and subtle sonic shifts, a veritable excursion from start to finish, and although the mood is relatively placid throughout, you'll find many tracks that verge on lo-fi pop, and bittersweet psychedelia. We love it, and we think that anyone who doesn't know this guy should start indulging as soon as possible!