Review: Thankfully, Richard D. James has decided to finally release at least some of the output that he's been banging on about since mid-2000s. In a number of interviews, the might Aphex Twin hinted that he has vast artilleries of tracks stacked up and unreleased, probably more on purpose than out of laziness...or maybe not. What we do know is that AFX is reborn after the string of acid 12"s released about 10 years ago on Rephlex, that saw the alias become one of the most popular of James' alter egos. Orphaned Deejay Selek is a collection of tunes that contain all of the Twin's magic and unpredictably, but that also cut straight to the point and head to the middle of the dance floor. This is banging brain dynamite coated in the man's iconic style and flair. Welcome back AFX, and many hats off to Warp for making it happen.
Review: Autechre have a long history of releasing impressive standalone EPs, from the early brilliance of 1994's Anti, to the unusual rhythms of 1997's Cichlisuite and sci-fi electronics of 2010's Move of Ten. L Event, a four-track EP with artwork from long-time collaborators The Designers Republic, continues this trend. Despite the sci-fi electronics, there's something almost tear-jerking about the melancholic melodies of "Newbound", while "Tac Lacora" sounds like an invitation to dance (though, inevitably, only jazz dancers on speed need try it). The spooky "M39 Diffain" and discordant "Osla For N" are impressive, too.
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: A special release from Minimal Wave here as the uber rare Irene & Mavis EP from UK synth poppers Blancmange is granted a reissue! Those with a pub quiz winning level of knowledge of UK synth pop will no doubt be familiar with the 80s hits of Blancmange duo Neil Arthur & Stephen Luscombe, yet this debut EP dating back to 1980 will still sound revelatory. The self released Irene & Mavis EP marked Arthur and Luscombe to be fully willing to experiment with DIY electronics, impressing Mute founder Daniel Miller sufficiently to proclaim them "maiden aunts of electronic music," and thus more than suited as a subject of focus from the Minimal Wave label. There are definite similarities between this nascent stage of Blancmange and the output of Cabaret Voltaire from the same era, particularly in the masked and disembodied nature of the vocals, whilst "Holiday Camp" and "Just Another Spectre" are wonderful examples of instrumental synth music. Despite originally being released in 7" format, the six newly remastered tracks are presented here in 10" format by Minimal Wave with the distinctive artwork retained!
Review: With Christmas fast approaching, Throbbing Gristle founder member Chris Carter has decided to offer up the perfect stocking filler for industrial and experimental electronica enthusiasts: a limited coloured 6xLP retrospective focusing on the early part of his solo career. While it omits his 1980 debut "The Space Between", it does include expanded, re-mastered versions of 1985's surprisingly ambient "Mondo B", 1998's trippy, hypnotic and rhythmical "Disobedient Redux" and 1999's brilliant "Small Moon Redux". Even more excitingly, one of the box's LPs is the most experimental, out-there and inspired of all, as it is made up entirely of previously unreleased tracks recorded between 1973 and 77. In truth, this LP is worth the entrance price on its own.
Review: By now Future Nuggets have surely been established as one of Romania's leading exponents of leftfield electronic oddities, and they don't disappoint on the surprising delights of this new 7" from Renato Din Sala and Ion Din Dorobanai. There's an Eastern lilt to the vocals and melodies on both tracks, but they're framed by some wonderfully quirky synth parts and budget drum machines. "Nu E Injoseala (N-am Carti De Credit)" in particular capitalises on cranky monosynth squelch and organ wails, while "I Love You Viata Mea (Lema)" takes a more energetic approach and works some Rhodes-like sounds into the mix.
Review: We never quite know what to expect from leftfield explorer Jon Hopkins, but we know it will be worth a listen. Immunity, his fourth solo album (he's recorded two others, one with Brian Eno and another with King Creosote), doesn't disappoint. Rooted in shuffling, forthright and occasionally off-kilter rhythms, it melds hazy, late night atmospherics and subtle melodies with intense, droning chords, woozy electronics and all manner of inventive noises. It's a blend that repeatedly pays dividends, from the mournful pianos and jumpy rhythms of "Breathe This Air', to the crystalline, soundscape ambience of "Abandon Window", and glitchy wonkiness of "Form By Firelight".
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: It would be fair to say that this release is fairly significant. It showcases material recorded - but never released - by former Tangerine Dream and Iggy Pop drummer Klaus Kruger throughout the 1980s. Variously inspired by kosmiche, Berlin School ambient, the cyclical movements of avant-garde American minimalism, the polyrhythms of Africa and contemporaneous electronic music movements - think EBM and European new age electronica, for starters - Advanced Dance contains some startling and hugely enjoyable material. The album's genius lies primarily in Kruger's ability to not only balance acoustic and electronic instrumentation, but also experimental instincts and melodious intent. Remarkably, some of the material even sounds like modern modular techno. In other words, it's one album of previously unreleased material that you really need in your life.
Review: Time 'Love' Lee has been spinning tunes and kicking ass since the late 1980's, and his first productions date back from the early 1990's. That's when he started Peace Feast, among other imprints like Tummy Touch and Boy Scout Recordings, and that's also when he started pushing his own particular brand of loose outsider house. Although the first Peace Feast is from 1994, the label's releasing schedule has been rather sparse and this latest bombshell is only number twenty-four in the series! "Tingle" is a beautifully symphonic piece of music, barely held together by a playful percussion and well-mannered swells of bass. The flip, "E7000" is similarly musical and rich in instrumentation, a true expedition into the ether. Cop!
Review: Kicking cheerfully against the compression and conformity of the modern digital age, antique futurist analogue wizards metamono return with their finest, fittest album to date. Comprising Jono Podmore, aka Kumo and sometime collaborator with Can members Irmin Schmidt and Jaki Liebezeit, Paul Conboy and fine artist Mark Hill, the Crystal Palace based trio enchanted audiences during 2014 with their live soundtracks to Secrets Of Nature, early 20th century short films using new photography techniques to reveal the processes of the natural world including the lives of cuckoos and barn owls. Many of the pieces they wrote feature on the new album. It was an ideal fit for the metamono sound - organic, playful, basking in the joys of new mechanical possibilities.
Recalling the early electronic adventures of Raymond Scott, Brian Eno, Cabaret Voltaire, Cluster and acid house but always bearing their unmistakable bespoke signature, metamono are as unmissable live as they are on vinyl. Do not miss this!
Review: Back in 1996, Richard D. James and Planet Mu boss Mike Paradinas collaborated on a bizarre self-titled album under the name Mike & Rich. A cult addition to their respective highly-regarded canons that saw the pair applying their braindance template to easy listening and funk, the album soon came to be known as Expert Knob Twiddlers thanks to the excellent cover art. Newly reissued on Planet Mu, the album has been "carefully cleaned up, re-edited and remastered from the original DAT tape [and] put into a more fitting order." Some twenty years on the album remains a playful listen made all the more compelling by the addition of seven previously unheard tracks. A must for any fans of Aphex Twin and u-ZIQ.
Review: Swiss label WRWTFWW has scored something of a coup here, securing the rights to release two near mythical film soundtracks by legendary experimentalist composer and music concrete artist Bernard Parmegiani. The soundtracks themselves - together on one CD after recently appearing on separate vinyl albums in very limited quantities - were originally composed for a pair of experimental films (1972's "Les Soleils de L'Ike de Paque" and 1965's "La Brulure de Mille Soleils") whose hallucinatory approach to cinematography offered Parmegiani a chance to let his imagination run wild. The results are predictably out-there and inspired, sitting somewhere between the Radiophonic Workshop, Stockhausen and the cutting-edge pioneering electronica of American composer Morton Subotnick.
Review: Despite now being 25 years into their career, Plaid duo Ed Handley and Andy Turner show no signs of showing up. If The Digging Remedy - their 11th studio set - is anything to go by, their instincts remain as sharp as ever. They've always been capable of creating magical music that contrasts experimental electronic rhythms with picturesque melodies and mood-enhancing sounds, and The Digging Remedy is full of the stuff. Intriguingly, many of the tracks seem deeper and more subdued than previous explorations, with clear ambient and neo-classical influences amongst the classic electro and IDM flavours you'll find on the album's more up-tempo moments.
Review: Some of you may remember Ricardo Vincenzo from his 2015 debut Pororoca Transatlantica, a two-track missive that blended South American production with all the warmth of sun-kissed downtempo electronica. If anything, this belated follow-up for esteemed Finnish label Sahko is even better. Vincenzo begins with the farmyard animal samples, rolling tribal percussion, African chants and rich electronic bass of "Cabras No Elevado Quilombia", before chopping and looping a dusty old tango track on the mid-tempo house pulse of "Onna No Yujo". On the flip you'll find the low-slung, post-dubstep creepiness of "Haru", where exotic vocal samples drift across a sparse but heavy beat pattern, and the aural trip to Morocco that is "Excellent Drom".
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.
Review: It was only a matter of time before the enigmatic Rezzett duo dropped an LP on Will Bankhead's TTT, and the time feels just right. At a time when electro, EBM and post-everything seems to be trending, the duo's organic style and ethereal melodies make a whole lot of sense, and give meaning to a new generation of listeners fascinated by future dystopia and the more melancholic side of dance music. The self-titled LP is a perfect encapsulation of everything they have released thus far, a blend of aqueous techno and ambient house that goes way, way beyond the dancefloor. The mood, the vibe, and the sounds are sticky, tainting the air with their singular distortion aesthetic that renders them personal to these two masked producers. The thing we love most, however, is their willingness to represent the UK hardcore continuum, offering two final cuts that push the d&b framework to its very limits. Highly recommended.
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: Well, we couldn't really be happier. In fact, there is almost nothing to say about this album apart from the fact that it is absolutely, downright essential. Originally released in 1986 on Rough Trade here in the UK, it has been reissued a few time over the years but has always vanished in the blink of an eye and reappeared on the EBay and Discogs circuits for big bucks. Finally, you can indulge in a beautifully remastered version on virgin vinyl. In what is seen by many cultic Russell fans as perhaps his biggest achievement, the LP drifts in and out of light and shadows with utter ease, truly portraying the genius of the man who paved much of the way for modern electronic music generally. From start to finish, it's an ethereal mixture of sparse beats, effect manipulations and folklore, charismatically told by one of the only artists in the history of experimental music to really combine and successfully bind so many unexpected musical terrains. We are only mere mortals, so we won't describe the music to you...just get yourself a copy and see...
Review: The tireless Emotional Rescue dig once more into the well of cultish music from days gone by with a fully remastered reissue of Whichever Way You Are Going You Are Going Wrong, the debut album from brotherly duo Woo. Originally released back in 1982, this thirteen track set finds Mark and Clive Ives delivering a hugely ahead of their time exposition of hard to categorise electro acoustic folk. This hugely prolific pair was once described as "sounding like the music the Durutti Column would have made with Penguin Cafe Orchestra if produced by Brian Eno" and whoever came up with that obviously had Whichever Way You Are Going You Are Going Wrong in mind.