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: Between 2012 and 2017, grad_u released nine EPs of high quality dub techno on the vinyl-only Redscale imprint. With the label now seemingly a thing of the past, the prolific Lithuanian producer has decided to gather together all 19 tracks from those sought-after vinyl EPs on CD for the very first time. Those who have paid close attention to grad_u's career will know what to expect, namely an evocative mixture of deep, hypnotic techno epics, delay-laden dub techno workouts, spacey late night rollers, abstract dancefloor explorations and occasional surprise turns towards a bolder, warehouse-friendly style (see the formidably sweaty and sub-heavy "Holdback").
Review: More unreleased and remastered content from dub techno veteran Steve Hitchell aka Radius' Obsolete Machines and Interpolation Tapes projects. Said to have been restored from cassette live recordings between 1995-2000, the project has been on hiatus since 2001. The demos were initially sent to Rod Modell and Mike Schommer shortly after they launched the label, but passed it on to Octal Records for release. Sadly, that didn't materialise. Modell and Schommer dedicated a generous portion of their time remastering the release. From the introspective and personal dub of "Soul Rotation" (unreleased tape mix), the glacial and cavernous immersion of "Culture" (original 12" mix) and not to mention some powerful soundscapes from the great north of Michigan in the form of "Interpolation Tape" Parts One & Six.
Review: As 2015 draws to a close, Stephen Porter member Katsunori Sawa releases his debut solo album for the intriguing Weevil Neighbourhood. It's a pleasingly varied affair, with the Japanese producer touching on numerous styles whilst retaining a crackly, late night atmosphere throughout. After opening with the evocative, creeping ambience of "Beginning", he moves onto the shuffling, hypnotic dancefloor spookiness of "Escape", and elastic minimalism of "Immediate Awareness". "Anxious Kid" is a tribal-tinged dash of IDM darkness, while "Antagonist" is thrillingly difficult to describe. Arguably best of the lot, though, is closer "Unauthorized Page", which bristles with industrial textures, surging rhythms and complex percussive arrangements.
Review: Given that XOR Gate is a new project from Drexciya member and all round Detroit legend Gerald Donald, we'd expect copies of Conic Sections to fly off the shelves. It helps, of course, that's the mini-album is little less than inspired. There are hints of Drexciya's alien electronics throughout, but little in the way of punchy TR-808 beats or booming bass. Instead, Donald treats us to a sublime selection of futurist soundscapes, experimental doodles, deep space ambient compositions and trippy, horror-influenced electronica. It's effectively the distilled essence of Motor City futurism with the dancefloor grooves removed and some creepy modular electronics thrown in. Which, we think you'll agree, is an enticing proposition.