Review: Although she's offered up plenty of high-grade DJ mixes in the past, this volume in the "DJ Kicks" series marks Laurel Halo's first commercially available mix-up. The sometime Hyperdub producer has dutifully delivered something rather special, somehow joining the dots between 29 diverse and disparate cuts in the manner of a true turntable maestro. Beginning with the melodious experimentalism of her own "Public Art", Halo giddily charges between mutant industrial funk (Stallone The Reducer, Final Cut), thrusting electronic disco (Red Axes), deep techno (Parris), mind-altering acid-style intensity (Rrose), stomping, sweat-soaked peak-time techno (Machinewoman, FIT Siegel), polyrhythmic bass music (Facta, one of her Livity Sound collabs with Hodge) and an impressive array of cuts that defy easy categorization. The resultant all-action mix is nothing less than stunning.
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: This year, Richie Hawtin has been in a nostalgic mood. With the Plus 8 label he co-founded reaching the grand old age of 25, he's been revisiting his youth and releasing a series of anonymous - but barely disguised - white label 12" singles that doff a cap to his most famous early projects, including FUSE, Circuit Breaker and Plastikman. Here he gathers those together, alongside other similarly minded tracks, on the surprise full length From My Mind To Yours. Largely focused on drum machine jack-tracks, acid, electro and no-nonsense techno, the two-disc set's 16 tracks feel like products of another time. Given the quality of Hawtin's work throughout the '90s, though, this is no bad thing.
Review: Over the last few years, the team behind the Moog Sound Lab has encouraged a range of forward-thinking electronic musicians to come and jam on its obscure (and very rare) Modular 55 System prototype. The latest edition in the ongoing series of session recordings sees intergalactic Afro-futurist Hieroglyphic Being treat us to The Replicant Dream Sequence - an eight-part modular electronic treat that moves from drowsy, surprisingly colourful ambience ("Seq 1") and foreboding deep space soundscapes ("Seq 3"), to dreamy electronica ("Seq 4") and hypnotic EBM (standout "Seq 6", which also features his distinctive spoken vocals), via blistering techno ("Seq 8", "Seq 2"). Unlike many of his own releases, the sound is sparkling and crystal clear, allowing the quality of his compositions and arrangements to shine through.
Review: For the first time since 2016, Jamal Moss has pitched up on Soul Jazz with a typically eccentric and mind-altering full-length excursion. As you'd expect, The Red Room is another triumph - an inspirational collection of otherworldly and melodious cuts that effortlessly combine elements from Moss's many major inspirations. One minute, you're wigging out to his jacking, piano-heavy fusion of gospel house and synth-jazz ("The Seduction Syndrome"), the next he's laying down a chunk of deep space ambient with Terry Riley synthesizer cycles ("Awake and Energize"). And so it goes on, breathlessly joining the dots between Sun Ra, Juan Atkins, Adonis, Steve Reich, L.I.E.S and Jeff Mills while sounding thoroughly different to all of them.
Review: For the latest volume in their essential reissue series, Tresor has decided to offer up a brand new edition of Robert Hood's celebrated 1994 debut album, "Internal Empire". A quarter of a century after Hood first committed it to wax, it remains one of the Motor City maestro's most potent and inspired works. It effectively defined his throbbing, minimalist style, with heavy and hypnotic cuts such as "Master Builder", the bleeping "Minus", deep and wonky "Within" and angular "Multiple Silence" perfectly encapsulating the stripped-back genius of Hood's production. If you've yet to acquire a copy, we'd recommending grabbing one of these: in truth, no techno collection is complete without it.
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 atmopsherics 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".