Review: There's much to admire about Andrew Wilson and John Tanner's second collaborative full-length, which sees them build on the fluid and atmospheric ambient of 2016 debut "69". Utilizing a relatively small array of instruments - mainly piano, acoustic guitar and a few choice synthesizers - the pair serves up ear-catching soundscapes wrapped in atmospheric field recordings and just the right amount of processed effects. For the most part their compositions are summery and seductive, emphasizing unfussy combinations of melodic refrains and positive chord progressions. There are, though, one or two more experimental cuts, with the tipsy, slow-motion shuffle of "Idle" and spaced-out "Safe Bird" standing out.
Evasion 85 - "Van La Ka Vante" (Omar Mendez TD Fix) (3:55)
Bessoso - "Para Decir Que Te Quiero" (4:45)
Goma-Laca - "Do Pila" (feat Karina Buhr) (4:38)
Equipe Radio Cidade - "Bon Tempos" (2:34)
Voilaaa - "Spies Are Watching Me" (4:56)
Blyk Tchutchi Loy Dtchutchi - "Mandamento De Deus" (3:43)
Gordon Henderson - "The Highest Bidder" (3:21)
Simon Jurad - "Macadam" (3:35)
Mubashira Mataali Group - "Emaali Ya Bamulekwa Orphans Property" (2:42)
Eko Roosevelt Louis - "Tondoho Mba" (4:41)
Slim Young - "Otan Hunu" (4:48)
Jacinta Sanches & Pedro Ramos - "Vizinha Ka Bale" (3:13)
Andre Marceline - "Candencedisco" (4:17)
Misumami First Touch - "Prove Your Love" (4:01)
Alma Luma - "Princesa Isabel" (3:36)
Review: While he's been offering up some sizzling solo albums of late, French DJ/producer GUTS is still arguably better known as the seasoned selector behind the excellent "Beach Diggin'" compilations. Here he offers up another compilation, this time showcasing tried-and-tested tracks that have been rocking his DJ sets for the last few years. Mostly focused around club-friendly global sounds past and present, the 17-track selection is full of little known killers, overlooked dancefloor workouts and forgotten gems. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, from the horn-sporting boogie-zouk bounce of Evasion 85's "Van La Ka Vante" and the cheeky "Rappers Delight" re-write "Bon Tempos" by Equipe Radio Cidade, to the sparkling Afro-disco heat of Eko Roosevelt Louis' "Tondoho Mba" and the righteous Afro-Brazilian drum workout that is Alma Luma's "Princesa Isabel".
Fabio Fonseca - "Ladroes De Bagda" (feat Marina Lima) (3:51)
Fernanda Abreu - "Hello Baby" (4:56)
Luna E DJ Cri - "Acabou Como Comecou" (4:28)
Junior - "Vim Te Buscar" (4:59)
Thaide & DJ Hum - "Coisas Do Amor" (Trepanado edit) (4:34)
As Damas Do Rap - "Um Sonho Real" (4:55)
MC D'Eddy - "Jeito De Ser Menina" (instrumental) (5:12)
Sharylaine - "Saudade" (5:26)
Review: Did you know that Britain was not the only country where street soul was a musical force to be reckoned with during the late '80s and early '90s? As this fine compilation from record collector Augusto Olivani shows, the sound also thrived in Brazil, where inner-city musicians embraced its post-boogie fusion of head-nodding grooves, smooth instrumentation and even smoother vocals. There's much to enjoy throughout "Street Soul Brasil", from the dreamy chords and sparkling melodies of Afrodite Se Quiser's breezy "Fora De Mim", to the Soul II Soul style shuffle of Luna E DJ Cri's "Acabou Como Comecou", via the rushing cheeriness of Junior's "Vim Te Buscar" and the sugary bliss of MC D'Eddy's "Jeito De Menina (Instrumental)".
Review: Since opting to release more music under his given name, DeepChord man Rod Modell has largely stuck to dubbed-out ambience and heady drone soundscapes. His latest full-length is a little different, though, offering up club-focused cuts that mix his usual fuzzy aural textures and dub-fired motifs with up-tempo techno rhythms. By his standards, it's a very forthright set, with highlights including the noise-soaked stomp of "Reiki", the thrusting heaviness of "ITO", the hypnotic slam of "Jade" - where breezy, early morning electronics flutter away above tough drums and a mind-altering bassline - and the boisterous peak-time techno anthem "Scrawler".
Johnny Dynell & New York 88 - "Jam Hot (Rhumba Rock)" (7:22)
Art Zoyd - "Sortie 134" (part 2) (3:45)
Adiche - "Chuka-Ja (Get Ready)" (6:56)
Class Action - "Weekend" (Larry Levan mix) (8:15)
Gray - "Cut It Up High Priest" (feat Jean-Michel Basquiat) (4:23)
Golden Flamingo Orchestra - "The Guardian Angel Is Watching Over Us" (6:50)
Extra T's - "ET Boogie" (5:30)
Fab 5 Freddy - "Change The Beat" (7:31)
Convertion - "Let's Do It" (6:40)
Yoko Ono - "Walking On Thin Ice" (5:55)
The Girls - "Jeffrey I Hear You" (5:49)
The Girls - "The Elephant Man" (5:52)
Review: Curated as part of the iconic street artist's Tate exhibition this year, The World Of Keith Haring unites many of the talented souls Keith knew, or was inspired by, during his prolific rise as one of the most vital cultural spokesmen through the 70s and 80s. Soundtracking the gritty downtown NYC streets he made his first mark on, this limited collection captures the whole melting pot from b-boy culture with cuts such as "E.T Boogie" and "Bump N Grind", raw boogie and soul ("Over & Over") and pure drama ("The Guardian Angel Is Watching Over Us"). A powerful collection as striking and relatable as his own signature.
Review: The criticism of Anderson .Paak's last album, the glossy, big-budget "Oxnard", was so voluminous that his mum took to social media to defend it. The fast-rising rapper laughed off the haters at the time, but it must have hurt. Either way, he's changed direction again on "Ventura", a follow-up that's noticeably more refrained than its predecessor. Musically, what we're offered is stripped-back '70s soul and Prince style purple funk instrumentation fused with head-nodding hip-hop and R&B beats. Paak is lyrically on point throughout, eschewing some of his more sexually explicit lyrics in the post #MeToo era. To complete the picture of an artist going back to his roots, the assembled guests (Outkast's Andre 3000 included) are generally pushed to the background in an unobtrusive manner.
Os Quentes De Terra Alta - "Praia Do Algodoal" (3:21)
Pinduca - "Pai Xango" (3:36)
Janjao - "Meu Barquinho" (3:13)
Messias Holanda - "O Galo Canta, O Macaco Assovia" (3:33)
Vieira E Seu Conjunto - "Lambada Da Baleia" (2:55)
Verequete E O Conjunto Uirapuru - "Mambo Assanhado" (3:25)
O Conjunto De Orlando Pereira - "Carimbo Para Yemanja" (2:19)
Pinduca - "Coco Da Bahia" (3:06)
Messias Holanda - "Carimbo Da Pimienta" (2:29)
Verequete E O Conjunto Uirapuru - "Da Garrafa Uma Pinga" (3:11)
O Conjunto De Orlando Pereira - "Maruda" (2:00)
Magalhaes E Sua Guitarra - "Xango" (3:20)
Vieira E Seu Conjunto - "Melo Do Bode" (3:45)
Grupo Da Pesada - "Voa Andorinha" (2:43)
Grupo Da Pesada - "Lundun Da Yaya" (3:15)
Mestre Cupijo E Seu Ritmo - "Despedida" (4:09)
Review: Analog Africa's latest must-have release focuses on the little-known musical culture of the Para state on Northern Brazil, and specifically the port city of Belem. Since the 1960s the city's musicians have been serving up unique and exciting new styles that draw as much on West African, Cuban and Caribbean music as they do the rhythms and instrumentation of the Amazonian tribes based nearby. It's these kinds of unique and exuberant fusions - think heavy bass, bouncy ska-style rhythms, punchy Afro-Cuban horns, densely layered drums, celebratory vocals and tropical guitars - that make "Jambu E Os Miticos Sons Da Amazonia" such an essential listen. Context is provided via the included 24-page booklet, whose extensive liner notes track the development of Para's unique musical culture.
Al Man Muntzie & The Embraceables - "We Are Steady Rockin'" (8:02)
Review: It would be fair to say that Winston is nowhere near as well known as some of the record collectors who've compiled volumes in the "Under The Influence" series (think Nick The Record, Sean P and Red Greg), but it seems his crates are every bit as deep. Check, for example, the unashamedly celebratory, slap-bass propelled disco-funk of Doug Payne and Polygon's "Holiday", the heady, high-octane disco thrills of Expose's "I Just Wanna Dance With You", the low-slung early funk-rap headiness of Jungle Band's "Jungleland (Part 2)" and the wickedly percussive salsa-disco heaviness of Suave's "Salsa Gon Gitcha". In other words, it's a killer collection of top-notch cuts that you'll never have heard before. What's not to like?
Review: Time marches relentlessly on as does the immortal sound of iconic Manchester band Joy Division. At the heart of Unknown Pleasures was the alarming vocal talent of Ian Curtis. His alien wails, echoed expressionistic vistas of urban alienation over No Wave tribal beats and Gothic guitar impressions. And despite the breathtaking intensity of the angular acid comedown "She's Lost Control", the soaringly depraved detachment of "New Dawn Fades" and the proto-slowcore "Candidate", opening track "Disorder" remained the piece years ahead of its time and most immediately enduring. This anniversary record arrives almost forty years to the day after it was originally released, splashed out on 180g ruby red vinyl with an alternative white sleeve to resemble the original and legendary cover design. Unquestionably authentic, Unknown Pleasures was a vision so uncompromising and haunting that each track was worth its length. This commemorative reissue, then, continues the celebration of one of the most important albums of our time as well as highlighting the record as a landmark in music-design crossover history.
Alternative Theme From Gay Mans Guide To Safer Sex (End version) (6:43)
Exploding Frogs (8:43)
Nasa Arab 2 (4:18)
Nasa Arab (11:01)
Omlagus Garfungiloops (4:24)
Theme From The Gay Mans Guide To Safer Sex (8:34)
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: the first ever release of Coil's 1992 soundtrack to the VHS-only sex-ed documentary "The Gay Man's Guide To Safer Sex". It's always been something of an in-demand curio, primarily because it sees John Balance, Peter Christopherson and Danny Hyde not in industrial or experimental mode, but rather exploring the dreamy chord sequences and warming horizontal of ambient house (albeit with occasional nods towards acid jazz/proto trip-hop and what Hyde describes as "sort of progressive house"). It's very good, though, and comes with two tasty bonus cuts, "Nasa Arab" and "Omlagus Garfungiloops", which are vastly different versions of other soundtrack cuts. These were originally featured on a CD-only release in 1992.
Review: As part of this year's Manchester International Festival, local legends New Order performed live in collaboration with NYC-based British artist Liam Gillick, who has previously presented solo exhibitions at venues such as Tate Britain and MoMA. It was orchestrated by composer-arranger Joe Duddell, a fellow son of Manchester and a frequent collaborator with the band. The live show was performed by the band with a 12 member synthesiser ensemble from the Royal Northern College of Music on 13th July 2017. This release includes the full show and encore plus 3 additional tracks recorded over the residency to give listeners a full representation of the breadth of material performed. Features timeless classics such as "Ultraviolence", "Shellshock" and "Bizarre Love Triangle" in addition to some Joy Division classics such as "Disorder" and "Heart & Soul".
Review: Astonishingly, 23 years have passed since Glenn Underground and Boo Williams established the Strictly Jaz Unit project, a fluid collective of underground Chicago deep house producers. These days, SJU mainly operates as a duo, and it was this stripped-back line-up that produced "The Tempest", a rare album-length outing bristling with quality cuts. As a whole, the album is far more intergalactic, electronic and sci-fi sounding than either man's solo productions, with just a few hints of the luscious instrumentation and swinging grooves associated with their previous work. There's no dip in quality, though, with the dubbed-out deep house hypnotism of "Heard Syndrome", the Patrick Cowley/Giorgio Moroder influenced "The Struggle", the Chicago-goes-Yorkshire bleep flex of "Time of Speed, Not Day" and acid-fired gorgeousness of "The Flat (London Projects)" standing out.
Review: Uwe Schmidt - he of Atom Heart, Atom TM and Senor Coconut fame - has used an insane number of aliases over the years, so you'd be forgiven for not knowing about the sole album he produced as Dots. It first appeared on CD way back in 1994 and has long been considered something of a slept on classic by '90s ambient fans. Here it appears on vinyl for the very first time courtesy of Astyral Industries, a label that knows a thing or two about unearthing forgotten ambient treasure. Stylistically, there are hints to some of Schmidt's other work - a dub bassline here, an abstract motif there - but for the most part the becalmed and beguiling soundscapes have more in common with the work of German ambient legend Pete Namlook.
Review: Given that Alex Storrer released his first Lexx record way back in 2001, this album is way overdue. It's Storrer's first as Lexx following an abstract 2002 ambient set as Lexxodus. "Cosmic Shift" is as warm, groovy, Balearic and beguiling as you'd expect with Storrer joining the dots between yacht rock, dub, deep house, ambient, folk, new age and lazy Latin grooves. Interestingly, Storrer successfully takes to the mic on numerous occasions, while guests including Woolfy, Ella Thompson and Harriet Brown also lend a hand. The results are uniformly superb, which begs the question: why didn't he do it sooner? Let's hope it won't be 20 years before we get a sequel.
Sly & Lovechild - "The World According To Sly & Lovechild" (Andrew Weatherall Soul Of Europe mix) (8:25)
Deniro - "Epirus" (6:34)
Psyche - "Crackdown" (5:59)
Hiver - "Paert" (7:04)
Aphex Twin - "Vordhosbn" (4:46)
Review: South Korean star Peggy Gou continues her seemingly unstoppable rise by serving up her first ever DJ mix CD. It's a contribution to one of the longest running series in the business, DJ Kicks, and she's used the opportunity to showcase the depth and variety of the music in her crates. Beginning with the classic early '90s ambient of Spacetime Continuum, Gou flits between humid, mid-tempo Balearic house (her own "Hungboo"), acid-fired downtempo electronica, throbbing 1990 peak-time anthems (Weatherall's ace but largely forgotten remix of Sly & Lovechild), hypnotic techno minimalism, main room throb-jobs (Hiver), pulsating electro, classic breakbeat hardcore, post-dubstep, dark tribal drum jams and sunrise ready Motor City brilliance (Deniro).
Review: Somewhat poetically, Anthony Naples describes his third album, "Fog FM", as a "house music transmission filtered through fluorescent static, from a station out of place and time". You'll certainly find some blasts of evocative radio static dotted around the album - see the drowsy wooziness of ambient numbers "Channel 2" and "Channel 3", not to mention the pops and crackles wrapped around sub-heavy, stripped back peak-time workout "Unhygenix" - but the lasting impression is of a smartly-produced set of mostly club-ready cuts that subtly doff a cap to many sub-genres of house and techno. It's a superb set, too, with highlights including the wayward techno intensity of "Benefit", the "Brown Album"-era Orbital heaviness of "Purple Iris" and the tough, dubbed-out deep house headiness of "Lucys".
Review: Singer-songwriting wrapped up in the dusty acid wash denim of Americana doesn't really get more authentic than what Bill Callahan of Silver Spring, Maryland, can deliver. His latest LP, a mass saunter through 20 tracks of smokey spoken word and lightly sung lyrics, falls upon a picturesque bevvy of humble and acoustic instrumentation. Callahan's songs croon with romance, metaphor, and folky yarns that find their place among fingerpicked guitars and light melodies that enjoy a contrast with the darker musings of Callahan's own world of experience and storytelling. It presents the artist with his first studio in some five years, and a sound that is looser than a typical Bill Callahan missive but full of melodrama that centres around life and death. Our pick, Callahan's cover of the Carter Family's "Lonesome Valley".
Review: Blending elements of ambient, abstract experimentalism, minimalism and modern classical, Yutaka Hirose's sole LP - 1986's "Nova + 4" - has become something of an in-demand item in recent years. Here it gets the reissue treatment, allowing those of us without deep pockets to wallow in its evocative charms. It's an intriguing affair, with Hirose drifting between beguiling (if unusual) soundscapes (see "Nova", where metallic chimes and gentle piano motifs unfurl over sustained ambient chords), sublime minimalist ambient (the echoing melodies of "In The Afternoon" and cascading bliss of "Through The Windows"), slow burn new age ("Taiko", "Humming The Sea") and deliciously experimental sound collages ("Epilogue").
Review: Hot Chip are back! The coolest dudes since Devo return like a monkey with a miniature cymbal with their seventh full length album. With vocoding effects layered over the sweet tone of Alexis Taylor's voice referencing all matter of contemporary and retro-active pop and trance sensibilities, this album once again sees Hot Chip at the front of pioneering, friendly and avant garde pop music. Produced by the late Philippe Zdar (one half of Cassius) - also responsible for applying award winning touches to albums by Phoenix and Cat Power, Domino is calling the record "a celebration of joy but recognises the struggle it can take to get to that point of happiness". Our tips: album opener "Melody Of Love" and the '80s trance-pop that is "Hungry Child".
Review: Berlin-based British producer Joe Seaton dons the Onno Fudd alias once again, following up a couple of releases on Will Bankhead's The Trilogy Tapes label - namely 2016's terrific Blue Dot EP. Five deep and meditative cuts that merge classic house/techno flavours with IDM and ambient aesthetics - all with a modern experimental twist. We are loving the floaty and entrancing drifter that is the title track, the driving EBM style arpeggio that is central to the epic groove of "Joyride To My Inside" and the hypnotic heads down bounce of "Earth Queen Voice". On the flip, he even dons his more popular Call Super alias for the Rhythim Is Rhythim-ish vibe of "The Mess".
Review: After years spent operating in the grey area where deep house, techno and tech-house meet, Raphael Ripperton has decided to indulge his ambient side. He's touched on the style on previous albums, of course, but "Contrails" marks the first time he's completely eschewed the demands of the dancefloor. He should perhaps do it more often, because it's a genuinely evocative, atmospheric and eye-opening excursion. The double album's 14 tracks are full of subtle differences and gentle stylistic shifts, from the ghostly electronics and hissing aural textures of "Lonely Walk" and the stretched-out, Tangerine Dream style analogue synthesizer fluidity of "Lavaux", to the Pete Namlook style deep space wooziness of "Where The Wind Blows" and the Steve Reich-meets-Gaussian Curve shimmer of "Dedale".