Review: As Autechre set out on an extensive live tour, Warp has decided the time is right to reissue their 1994 classic, Amber, on vinyl. Given that it's been unavailable on wax since then, and second hand prices have shot through the roof, this is undoubtedly a good thing. It remains one of the legendary duo's standout albums: a peerless collection of brilliant IDM tunes offering a perfect balance between the glistening, atmospheric melodiousness of their early work, and the crunchy, mathematical rhythms of their later releases. There are moments of eyes-closed calm ("Silverside"), bubbly, melody-led workouts ("Montreal", "Slip"), far-out electro missives ("Glitch"), and the odd icy epic (the brilliant "Further").
Review: Ever since their first white labels started to appear a few years back, we've been big, bigs fans of Russia's Gost Zvuk label. That's because, aside from all the gnarly artwork, these guys are doing things on their own agenda: the sounds on these records are recognisable and yet different. Different in their approach, their style, and their message. On this Pavel 'BUTTECHNO' Milyakov debut, a record that sounds like it's been made by a veteran, we here shards of techno, but the genre is only used as a means of expression, one means to an end in terms of tying these alien sonics together under one groove. We won't describe this music in detail because it simply must be heard to be understood. Album of the week from us, don't miss it. Oh, and check the rest of the label out, it's all solid gear.
Review: Originally conceived as a mixtape dedicated to friends inspired by afterhours parties, Anthony Naples second full length album Take Me With You 'quickly morphed into a soft focused meditation on all things warm and intangible'. The NYC by way of Florida producer was said to be inspired by influences as diverse as Suzanne Ciani, Panda Bear, Arthur Russell and Holger Czukay - which gives you an idea of how diverse and leftfield this collection of tracks are. Highlights include the cosmic dub freak-out "Goodness", the loved-up illbient vibe of "Tango", the first-wave Chicago house inspired interlude "Shredder" and the heart-warming/glassy eyed ambience of "Worldwide" among many others.
Review: Belgian retroverts Stroom are back, and have plundered the vaults of one Patrick Selinger: a pianist and visual artist based in Antwerp, known for his work in groups such as Logo, One O One and Electric Dream. Under his own name, he had one release - 1981's Passion In The Air. Much like said release, "Businessmen" is an icy cold expression in minimal wave, with deadpan vocals, and haunting synths accompanied by rusty rhythms. More relevant to Selinger's work at present are the evocative piano based pieces on the B side, such as "Between The Time" or "Nature Boy".
Review: Lyon's Julien Viallet, only recently baptised under the HLM38 moniker, lands with his debut EP for France's KUMP label, making it the imprint's second EP to date. Representative of the cultural shift that has taken France over nowadays, "Illicite Song" is a wonderfully dextrous blend of Eastern chimes and slow, meandering beat music that only subtly references techno or house. "French Dudu" is a little more tech-friendly, albeit grounded in the same form of percussive experimentation, while "Exit" references the sounds of bands like Throbbing Gristle, spewing industrial oddities from every orifice. Remixes come from Front De Cadeaux and Kris Baha, respectively, dropping yet more additive rhythms to the collection. Recommended!
Review: We're not going to introduce Frankie Goes To Hollywood to you because you should know who they are - just in case you don't - and you would have heard their timeless songs like "Timeless" played out left, right and centre. Liverpool, however, their 1986 album and their second LP, is a little less played-out and very representative of the rocky side of post-punk that was heavily popular from New York to London, and pretty much anywhere with dance floors. The mood is upbeat and groovy but, as with all of their work, there is a subtle layer of romanticism and melancholia, a perfect cocktail for a companion piece to pretty much everything and anything. We can't recommend this enough, especially seeing as the original is kinda hard to find these days..
Review: The Serbian representative of retirement synthesiser success Abul Mogard has a new release to impart which comes forth on Walls' own label Ecstatic. As with previous Mogard releases on VCO Records, there is a quiet, slow-burning intensity to this work, gently unfurling monstrous tones in a harmonious swell that manages to be both comforting and unsettling in the same stroke. With subtle processing at the heart of his sound, Mogard once again demonstrates just how powerful the right combination of signal paths can be at evoking strong emotions, using the most glacial sonic gestures possible as a throwdown to an impatient age.
Review: A exploration of harmonic relativity: "For Organ & Brass" sees contemporary composer Arkbro acquainting us with the Scherer organ, an instrument that was popular in the 15th and 16th century and uses an old tuning method called the meantone temperament. With a swooning, evocative soundscape that subtly, through the harmonic framework, joins the dots between the Renaissance period and blues music, Ellen has once again created something unique and ultimately timeless.
Review: It never fails to impress us just how sharp Ryucihi Sakamoto's experimental instincts remain, despite his advancing years. For proof, check the line-up of artists he asked to provide remixes for this "remodeled" companion piece to last year's sublime Async full-length. Predictably, almost all bring their A-game. Check, for example, the sweeping cinematic brilliance of Oneohtrix Point Never's interpretation of "Andata", the mournful, ultra-atmospheric wonder of Alva Noto's take on "Disintegration", the wall-of-sound sonic textures and neo-classical movements of Fennsez's version of "Solari", and the chopped-and-screwed headiness of "Async (ARCA Remix)". For the most part, all involved have somehow managed to emphasize the depth of feeling in Sakamoto's compositions, most of which were inspired by his well documented battle with cancer.
Review: Cache-Cache head honchos Andy Votel and Doug Shipton compile, in their words: unreleased, unknown and unwanted reluctant punk and snide synth pop. Well then: '70s porn funk merges with Latin exotica on Philippe Brejean's "Hilling Car" while Melbourne cosmic travellers Cybotron (yes you heard right, Juan Atkins this 'aint!) traverse the asteroid belt on "Sweet 16/9th Floor". There's more rare gems worth checking. Try Plastiktanz, who released their one and only 12" in 1981 and the curious minimal synth jam "Mir Geht Es Danke Gut" is taken from this. Don Gere, he of Werewolves On Wheels OST (another re-issue on Finders Keepers) goes all guns blazing on the psych rock of "There's A Star In You" while Bernard Szajner aka Zed, (recently rediscovered on Agoria's InFine imprint also) gives us the epic cosmic synth journey of "The Premen" too. There's a lot to get through here and it's all rather curious we must say. Highly recommended.
Review: Editions Mego aren't only good at releasing classics, but they're actually equally as amazing at scouting new, raw talent. The American artiste, Klara Lewis, steps into the limelight with ten audaciously diverse electronic sculptures. Samples and field recordings get moulded and chopped-up and create rhythmic patterns which could almost be danced to. For instance, the opener "CATT" is a rough and improvisational patchwork of organic noises and atmospherics gathered from diverse settings and fused herein to create a stunning hook. The same goes for the rest of the tracks and to be honest, Lewis is actually doing something interesting with field recordings - we can't wait to hear her sound progress into an even more convoluted sonic shuffle! Tip!
Review: Initially a duo responsible for a sole 7" release on Blind Prophet, Void Vision re-emerges here as the sole project of Shari Vari on this sublime 12" for the excellent Mannequin Records. The three track Sour precedes a debut Void Vision LP for the Berlin-based operation which is apparently due later this year and we cannot wait based on the sounds explored here. Lead track "Sour" is a ripe and muscular Italo track which is profoundly danceable and wholly erotic, whilst the accompanying remix from Bordello A Parigi pair Vanzetti & Sacco does a splendid job in magnifying more dancier elements of Void Vision's production. The full throttle instrumental thrust of closing track "20/20" will please fans of Void Vision's earlier work though we are more focused on what she's going to do next!
Review: Before he'd even released any music, Brainwaltzera's tracks were being "liked" by Aphex Twin. It caused a bit of a furore - and subsequently the hype surrounding this admittedly superb debut album - but the patronage of Richard D James is in many ways fitting. You see, Poly Ana is full of the kind of hard-to-pigeonhole electronic fare that could have come from the legendary Cornish producer's studio. There are moments of fluid, ghostly ambience, alternately clattering and crackling IDM machine jams, mind-altering leftfield techno throb-jobs and fizzing, braindance-inspired workouts. Imaginative, emotive, off-kilter and left-of-centre, it's litte less than a triumphant first album.
Review: Coldwave excursionist Shari Vari aka Void Vision finally comes through with her highly awaited Sub Rosa LP on the gorgeously on-point Mannequin imprint. The taster EP "Sour" out earlier this year was a taster of what's to come from Vari in terms of diversity and quality. Sub Rosa contains a little of everything when it comes to the electronic dance edge, where "Everythin Is Fine", for example, takes a techno beat and slaps down some vocals all over its makeup, while "Hidden Hand" is a true Drexciyan electro number. Then there's more abstract moments such as "Slow Down", "Vulgar Displays" with its rolling stabs of percussion and "Queen Of Hearts" with that humungous swell of low-end and quirky, heady melodies. Yum.
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: Cabaret Voltaire co-founder Richard H. Kirk, once one of electronic music's most prolific artists, has been surprisingly quiet of late. In fact, Daesin is his first album of new material since 2011. As you might expect, it's particularly obtuse, with the forthright experimentalist producing the kind of set worthy of the Cabs in their early '80s pomp. While there are moments of fleeting positivity - see the intergalactic industrial funk of "Do it Right Now", the shoegaze-goes-Italo throb of "Radioactive Water" and EBM onslaught "20 Block Lockdown" - for the most part the album is as formidably fuzzy, moody and foreboding. That means raw, heavy, effects-laden guitar textures, trippy electronics, steel-clad drum machine beats and, for the first time in a decade, Kirk's gnarled vocals.
Review: Belgium's Twilight Ritual formed the essence of the coldwave movement throughout the '80s: a shadowy duo riding below the mainstream and making cutting-edge proto-techno that would, unknowingly to the band, sound still as fresh as ever thirty years later. Originally out on Micrart, Geert Coppens and Peter Bonne's debut album was only released on cassette and CDR back in 1982 but thankfully Onder Stroom drop the first ever vinyl version, including a beautiful insert. Ranging from wonky synth-pop to pseudo-industrial sounds, The Ritual is an album which truly represents the era that it was made in, a time when genres were being mixed and stripped on a constant basis and where making futuristic machine sounds was the most important objective on the agenda for many bands. If you're into slow-burning drum machine jams and fuzzy synths then this is your winning ticket. Gorgeous reissue.