Review: Russian twosome Species of Fishes first emerged in the mid 1990s during the period's infamous IDM book. While still active, it's their early work - and specifically 1996 full-length Trip Trap - that gets collectors hot under the collar. The album was largely overlooked on its initial release, but is now considered something of a classic: a joyously weird, distorted and moody take on the Skam/Autechre sound with a chilling Eurasian twist. There's perhaps a little more dub influence than you'd perhaps expect - "Theweb" is particularly good - while the duo's trips into more melodious, spacey territory recall the icy brilliance of vintage Biosphere. Brilliantly, this reissue stretches the tracks previously crammed onto one record over two, allowing for a much louder and bass-heavy cut.
Review: Having previously been responsible for a number of themed compilations for Versatile Records, the Acid Arab crew has finally got round to delivering its' first album of original productions. Naturally, it continues their theme of blending North African and Middle Eastern sounds - be it vocals or instruments - with drum machine rhythms and vintage synthesizer sounds. This, though, is where the similarities to their previous work end. While there are a few house-influenced cuts dotted throughout (see the brilliant "Sayarat 303"), for the most part Musique De France veers further towards off-kilter electronic pop. Along the way, they doff a collective cap to new wave, punk-funk, and hazy indie-pop. While it may lack the crackling energy of their more dancefloor-minded productions, it's still a hugely enjoyable set.
Review: Since Emeralds disbanded earlier in the decade, Steve Hauschildt has impressed with a serious of largely overlooked albums on Kranky that showcased his innate ability to craft distinctly melodic music that sits somewhere between IDM, slowly shifting ambient, droning soundscapes and more ethereal home listening techno. Dissolvi, his first album for Ghostly International, could well be his most accomplished solo work to date. While it explores similar sonic territory to previous full-length releases, the set is bolder, more atmospheric and, at times, intensely beautiful. While undoubtedly fresh, those with long memories will note audible nods to ambient and deep techno greats of the early 1990s, including Jonah Sharp (Spacetime Continuum), Pete Namlook and, most obviously, Boards of Canada. In a word: timeless.
Review: There's much to enjoy about the output of the Kimochi label, not least the bespoke, spray-painted sleeves and their habit of releasing only the deepest, most hypnotic electronic music. Their latest must-have release is another super-limited affair that drifts lazily between ultra-deep cuts shot through with dub-wise rhythms, atmospheric shoegaze motifs, echoing ambient chords and beats straight out of the early '90s ambient techno playbook. It's utterly gorgeous and deliciously hazy, with slow-burn melodies and undulating electronics slowly rising above reverb-laden chords, warm basslines and occasionally skittish rhythms. There's something particularly special about the locked-in drums and hypnotic bassline of "Elljus", but the ambient soundscapes "Heden" and "Inland" are also superb.
Review: Although you're probably into the current wave of ambient that is being released today, one must pay homage to the original innovators of the genre. Jon Hopkins is one such producer; an integral part of the British downtempo wave of the late 90s and early 2000s which has featured other ground-breaking artists like Squarepusher, The Orbital and many more. Opalescent is his debut album from 2001, and this reissue is pressed up by the original Just Music imprint from back in the day. Hopkins' music on here is the sort of stuff to be enjoyed by a any sort of listener; bittersweet electronic soul that touches many different aspects of electronica and IDM. From the placid waves of "Elegaic", to the break-driven balearica of "Private Universe", through to the spectral "Opalescent" itself, and the more industrial tones of "Fading Glow", Jon Hopkins takes the listener through the full cycle, and gives us many different reasons to find this album still as compelling as it was back fifteen years ago.
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: The latest missive in the L.I.E.S. ongoing series of collaborative EPs brings together Cititrax regular An-I (AKA sometime leftfield disco maverick Doug Lee) and Berlin-based experimental electronics maverick Unhuman. The pair begins in forthright fashion, moving from the racing drum machine heartbeats, rhythmic noise and mangled yelps of "Five To Nine", to the doomy bass, triple-time beats and clanking metallic hits of post-punk number "Hate Thy Neighbour". Over on side B they mutilate electro beyond almost all recognition on the alien insanity of "Entschuldigung" before lolloping towards a conclusion with the fuzzy industrial funk thrust of "Cannibals".
Review: The latest instalment in Pinkman's white label Broken Dreams series is a collaborative affair with imprint affiliate Identified Patient joining forces with vocalist Sophie Du Palais, who has previously contributed to one of the producer's other EPs. Du Palais is in full on mascara-clad minimal wave mode on trippy opener "Peaceful Panic", a throbbing fusion of raw synthesizer riffs, mind-altering arpeggio lines and crunchy drum machine hits. Her stylish spoken word vocals come to the fore on dark and psychedelic electro number "Sleep Without Rest", before Lasznikoff joins in the fun on closer "Everything is Done", a fuzzy and up-tempo workout rich in macabre, low-register riffs, incessant percussion hits and trippy, late night aural textures.
Review: With a passion for bleak, post-industrial landscapes, drawn-out experimental compositions and mind-altering modular electronics, Craven Faults may well be the 21st century's answer to early Cabaret Voltaire. Certainly, we could imagine Richard H. Kirk, Stephen Mallinder and Chris Watson being impressed by "Intakes", the foreboding, paranoid and slowly shifting A-side to the self-consciously mysterious outfit's second vinyl outing. It ebbs and flows impressively over the course of 14 minutes, offering a dusk-to-dawn journey that evokes mental images of shuttered factories and boarded up housing estates. Flipside "Ings" is arguably even better, with pulsating, Tangerine Dream style arpeggio synthesizer melodies bobbing and weaving for 17 mesmerizing minutes.
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: 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.