Review: Destination San Francisco: Artikal snap-up Saule for his debut EP release. Long-time selector but an emerging producer, he's pushing all the right buttons here. Opener "Zeroes" is all flabby moving subs and shimmering theremin harmonics, "Baro" hits with more of an industrial twang in the percussive textures without losing any sense of warmth, trippiness or weirdness (watch out for the danked-out breakdown, though). The final shots are fired on "Pistola" as things take an even stranger turn; tones melt, drums turn into pistons and the sub wobble is off the chain. From "Zeroes" to heroes - this one is a keeper.
Review: UK funkateers out on the cosmic frontier in the early 80s Atmosfear let this synth-stroking, bass-slapping star-gazing escapade loose in 1982 and OG presses have been known to fetch a fair a penny among collectors in the past. A proud piece of UK jazz boogie, it's not heard to hear why it's been in such demand. Timeless, spacious and laced with intoxicating vocals and a superbly trippy dub version on the B that was way ahead of its time. Grab it while you can.
Review: Robin Ball's Memory Box dips once more into the acid-laced honey pot and comes up with the lysergic maestro Luke Vibert, who delivers a crucial gurgler in "X To C" that ranks amongst his most incisive 303 workouts in recent memory. A snappy 808 drum line and quintessential vocal chops make this an all-round masterful jam for heads down moments in the dance. Robin Ball himself steps up on the B side with two equally proficient cuts, from the big and bold peak time propulsion of "Gripper" to the punchy tech-noir of "The Edge".
Review: The seemingly bottomless Greensleeves vaults turn up more gold here with two prime cuts - Wailing Souls' "Who No Waan Come" and Al Campbell's "Unfaithful Children" - that are treated to a first new pressing since 1981. "Who No Waan Come" is silky and sedentary as they come, with kick drums just about managing to propel things along beneath gorgeous doo-wop harmonies. The Linval Thompson produced "Unfaithful Children", however, is a more driven affair with authentic roots. Psyched-out effects, endless reverb and hits that ricochet around, making it a widescreen dub that draws you in and takes you along for the ride.
Review: African-American consciousness is the primary theme of this 10-track collection from Damon Locks Black Monument Ensemble, a 15-piece musical collective headed up by eponymous improvisational artist Damon Locks, who's based in the Windy City. Sampled Civil Rights-era speeches, Afro-gospel harmonies, heavy 909 kicks and found sounds all find their way into freeform jazz excursions, providing the primary ingredients for a musical stew that defies easy categorisation. If you're looking for soothing, lounge-y vibes you're in the wrong place, but if you like your music 'challenging' both rhythmically and intellectually, this is an album that's worth investigating.
Review: The weight of expectation has been lifted. Having turned heads in the right places with breakout track "More Is Less", Dublin's The Murder Capital fulfil the promise of being Ireland's next great guitar hope by delivering a staggering debut album that's powerful yet subtle, uplifting and outward looking yet dark and introverted. No walking contradiction, it's an accomplished and entirely human record. It also sounds as tight as you could ask for. Produced by none other than Flood, whose credits are good enough to drop any jaw (PJ Harvey, Foals, New Order), for evidence just stop to consider the top end hooks and percussive detail on single "Green & Blue", invoking Liars in pared-back post punk mode. Or the tense, unnerving introduction to opener "For Everything". By the time you hit "Don't Cling To Life", arguably the most emotionally charged and reflective here, hopes of walking away unmoved are done for.
Review: 32 years after they first bonded over a mutual love of hip-hop, Oxford drum and bass duo Total Science are still going strong. You'd have expected their form to dip in that time, but this two-tracker - a second collaboration with French pal Samy Ponsar AKA War - is as on-point and exciting as the pair's classic works. A-side "What Now" is particular potent, with the trio peppering a surging bassline and fizzing D&B drums with all manner of crazy effects, redlined percussion hits, reggae vocal samples and dreamy chords. If anything, flipside "Cool & Deadly" is even better, primarily thanks to snappier beats, dub style sub bass and more loved-up chord sequences.
Review: Representing Californian house music culture with its heart on its sleeve, 12 Inches Deep return for a second volume of "West Coast Dance Traxx" that features four up and comers from the underground. Ricky Tinez captures a perfect hazy summer mood on the dub mix of "That Day" - a true product of his environment. Akumen brings a sweatier vibe to "Inner Life (All Of Music)" which captures a little Chi-town pressure and then blows it wide open with some choice organ licks. Le Smoove is on a serious garage tip with "G Groovez" and Urbanite reaches skywards with the utterly infectious "Triple Filtered", spilling good vibes out from every angle.
Review: After a two-year hiatus, the "Watergate Affairs" series returns with an EP of tracks from what the legendary Berlin label describes as "talent from outside the crew's immediate circle". Danish duo Baime step up first with the humid late night techno exotica of "Majka" - all Indonesian percussion, snake charmer synths and Teutonic grooves - before Kadosh offers up the melodious tech-house/deep-house fusion of "Better Days". Turn to the flip for a dash of quietly euphoric White Isle tech-house goodness from Ibiza-based Kintar ("Paradisou") and the extra-percussive throb of Kevin Di Serna's "Lucero Del Alma", where evocative electronic lead lines bubble above moody bass and pulsating synthesizer motifs.
Review: The III Rivers crew have put out some serious heat since first transmitting out of the Manchester underground back in 2013. Kvetch X, also known as Voiceless and Ekeko, has been spotted on labels like UntilMyHeartStops before, so you know this chap knows his chops in the studio. Here he's in full deviant machine mode, swerving from the swinging, strafing thrust of "Tool Box" to bugged out boxy techno workout "Purge The Urge" before landing on the wave-riding arp beast "Blue Eyes" that courses through the B side like a noirish B-movie soundtrack joint on uppers, downers, laughers and screamers.
Review: Turbotrax was an intermittent curio that belched out of the Bristol underground in a fit of tongue in cheek edits and samples back in the '00s. Someone's clearly rebooted the mainframe and brought this elusive collective out of hiding for another bout of cheeky lifts from more esoteric corners of culture. Library Vultures says it all - this is the work of dedicated diggers pulling forgotten bits n' pieces out of retirement, such as, on the A side here, the storming theme to a Commodore advert, and giving it a buff up more extended retro-pleasure. "Whatever Happened To The Hippies?" on the flip is a more light-hearted affair with a jaunty lilt and a message of positivity for all.
Review: This is proving to be a big breakthrough year for Kosh, a producer hailing from Casablanca in Morocco. After making a first appearance last year on Casa Voyager, he's returned to that label a second time before dropping the "Endless Quest" 12" on eudemonia. But now he's made a marked leap forward with this transmission on 20:20 Vision, where his incredibly well-read take on vintage electro sounds right at home. There is quality pouring from every corner of this record, but we recommend you make a beeline for the sumptuous "Vicious Love," an acid-laced burner with soul to match its snarl.