Review: Italian composer turned analogue electronics wizard Caterina Barbieri has always been able to create mesmerizing, otherworldly music with only a small array of instruments. Born Again In The Voltage, her latest full-length excursion, was recorded between 2014 and 2015 using a Buchla 200 synthesizer, a cello and her own voice. Naturally, the results are astonishing. Check, for example, 12-minute album opener, "Human Developers", where discordant, mournful and post apocalyptic cello motifs are slowly enveloped by trademark Buchla synth sounds. In contrast, the beautiful "Rendering Intuitions" puts subtly shifting cello parts at the centre of a heady ambient soup, while triumphant closer "We Access Only A Fraction" sounds like restless, metronomic proto-techno smothered in trippy vocalizations.
Review: While the name may be new, A New Line (Related) is supposedly the work of an already established musician, although Kimochi was never a label that cared about hype. The music stands just fine on its own, digging into the kind of dusty and dusky house and techno formations that the label has forged its hand-sprayed identity on. There's plenty of ambient techno twirls to be enjoyed on the likes of "Dancing On Soft Borders", while the beats melt away entirely on "After A Short Illness" and grandiose EP closer "RIYL Failures". Once again Kimochi comes up with the kind of meaningful variations on the 4/4 framework that keep our record bags full and our souls enriched.
Review: There's always been something rather special about King Britt's ability to effortlessly switch musical focus between projects and aliases. Contrast, for example, the retro-soul giddiness of Sylk 130, the electronic polyrhythms and heavy bruk of Oba Funke, and the trippy electronic darkness of his work under the baffling Fhloston Paradigm pseudonym. This debut album under that alias - on the back of a handful of singles a few years back - is predictably magical, mixing spaced-out textures and stargazing synths with off-kilter rhythms, loose jazz beats and Detroit-inspired grooves. Dark and atmospheric, with a touch of the Jeff Mills about it (certainly conceptually, if not aesthetically), The Phoenix makes for mesmerizing listening from start to finish.
Review: Texas club music icon Lotic continues Bjork's makeover on One Little Indian with another beautiful 12", cropped and packaged in a gorgeous silk-screened bag. Bjork's "Notget" had already been retuned by Lotic, but this time he returns to the turn with his Fromdeath version, jumping from solitary drones to broken shreds of power electronics, tribal drums and gun shots. It's a jagged, wayward affair for the more adventurous disc jockey, and one that will please both the floor shakers and the brain melters - this tune is only a shadow of its original self, and it comes as this week's top of the tips..!
Review: 12th Isle's latest must-check chunk of entertaining experimentalism comes from Lo Kindre, whose dub-wise 2017 debut on Optimo Music was arguably one of that year's most overlooked EPs. "Chlorophytum", the producer's first solo missive since then, is another lo-fi electronic dub treat. Of course, it's not all gentle bass-heavy rhythms, endless delay trails and cute electronic melodies - closing cut "For Sleep" is a buzzing electronic raga, for example - but it's on these bass-heavy excursions that Lo Kindre most frequently hits the spot. Highlights include the extraordinarily sub-heavy shuffle of "Sounder", the ambient dub wooziness of "Aibell" and the creepy alien-dub oddness of "No Hiding".
Review: All that we know about the enigmatically named Sa Pa is they are affiliated with Weimar crew Giegling, emerging earlier this year with the Fuubutsushi album on the Forum sublabel that garnered comparisons with Prince Of Denmark. Sa Pa's penchant for subaqueous techno now lands the producer a 12" debut on Marcel Dettmann Recordings. Lead track "We Can Be Friends" is so dubbed-out and murky that it could almost run as a background percussive piece in your mix - that's not to say that we don't think it's absolutely killer, because it is! "Morocco" is completely in a world of its own, crackly feedback and sparse sonics abound, while "Fast Jam" is a heady techno stomper with a punchy low-end and sublime percussion, a track that is followed by another murky load of swamped atmospherics in the form of "Untitled 11". If we have to be completely honest, this has been our favourite MDR 12" in a long time, and it comes with a heartfelt recommendation. Killer.
Review: While he's offered up the occasional remix, William "Burial" Bevan has been rather quiet of late. In fact, this two-tracker marks his first original material for almost two years. Lead cut "Claustro" is an unexpectedly up-tempo dancefloor affair - a sweet and sticky chunk of future-garage that sees Bevan wrap sugary female vocal snippets, spacey chords and bubbly analogue electronics around snappy two-step beats - drenched in vinyl crackle and tape hiss - and a rock solid bassline. It will raise a few eyebrows given his previous work but nevertheless sounds like a summer anthem in waiting. Bevan returns to familiar territory on flipside cut "State Forest", a ghostly, field recording-laden ambient excursion where pedal steel style motifs slowly rise above opaque electronics.
Review: Daniel Lapotin's recent rise has been remarkable. Further confirmation of his ascent to international IDM star status arrived via a round of recent interviews to promote Age Of, his 13th album, in which he expressed a desire to record soundtracks for Pixar movies and work with A-list R&B stars. Both of these disparate strands are explored on Age Of, alongside his love of fractured pop, intense and otherworldly electronica, and the kind of grainy, metal-influenced noise more often heard on the releases of one of the album's numerous guest musicians, Dominic Fenrow AKA Purient. One review described the set as bein like a "portfolio" and that's a fair comment; Age Of's greatest strength is the way that it shows off all sides of Lapotin's brilliant musical mind.
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.