Tuesday, February 11, 2020

E-FAX005 - Consulate (Art-E-Fax)

Title: E-FAX005
Artist: Consulate
Label: Art-E-Fax
Cat Number: E-FAX005
Genre: Breaks/Rave Simulation

A1: In The Throne
A2: Heraldry
B1: Serpentrising
B2: RZ Canin

Here we have four facets of an imagined dance somewhere in the British rural hinterland which are on the one hand familiar, on the other completely random and disorientating. ‘In The Throne’ is different in that its standard four four unencumbered by any abstract meanderings. The drum and bass overtones of ‘Heraldry’ and ‘Serpentrising’ and ‘RZ Canin’ are hypothetical, embryonic hardcore, albeit restrained and very introspective; spacially fascinating and compelling. Sub bass and high end synthetic vocal stabs weave in and out of the narrative and end up dislocating more than the legs. A sense of dubbed out misdirection prevails, like having your ossicles whittled by a sonic pickpocket.

Error 502 EP - Moy (Batrachian)

Title: Error 502 EP
Artist: MOY
Label: Batrachian
Cat Number: BTR003
Genre: Breaks

A1: Bad Gateway
A2: Wisdom Track
A3: Helkern (Slammer Mix)
B1: Bad Gateway (Almaty Remix)
B2: Megatherium

With the exception of ‘Helkern (Slammer Mix)’, the tracks on this EP are largely distinguished by a delicate range of breakbeats which, while occasionally rising in intensity are mostly restrained and introspective. This is often determined by the accompanying sub bass, which is probably most obvious on ‘Bad Gateway’, but plays no less a part on ‘Wisdom Track’ and the ‘Almaty Remix’. In both cases, however, its use is understated and stable. The aforementioned esception goes all out italo with some subliminal acid flourishes and stands out somewhat.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Edetto EP - Edetto (Apex Music)

Title: Edeto EP
Artist: Edetto
Label: Apex Music
Cat Number: APX001
Genre: Techno

1: Jack Daniels Ain’t Bourbon
2: Choking On Chanel

I still have a soft spot for stuff like this: a particular type of techno which although not as raw as it makes itself out to be, is still visceral enough to do maximum dance floor damage because of its momentum and sense of purpose. It’s a no-nonsense double header then, with two unnecessarily labored titled tracks showing the way. ‘Jack Daniels . . . ‘ strides across the holographic oceans sounding like deranged popcorn on speed with an hallucinogenic witch doctor’s voice intoning god knows what. ‘Choking . . . ‘ is toned down by comparison, but likes building to a crescendo of white noise. It’s all about the breakdown. A pair of weapons in the right hands. 

XXX - Current Obsession (Butter Sessions)

Title: XXX
Artist: Current Obsession
Label: Butter Sessions
Cat Number: BSR027
Genre: Breaks/Electro/Acid

A1: Drop Down
A2: Flipp It
B1: Reverse It
B2: Drop Down (Reptant’s Lizard Tech Remix)

This is “The by-product of Roza Terenzi’s signature sound fused with Furious Frank’s acid fanaticism” according to the press release. Well, I woudn’t know about that. It’s pretty freaky though. ‘Drop Down’ is a transcendent piece of full-bodied club tackle which rides the crest of an impulsive wave, drifting in and out of a parallel consciousness. Reptant’s ‘Lizard Tech Remix’ is stripped down  by comparison, and a different beast altogether; urgent, scatty but lacking the original’s depth. A similar type of momentum comes across in ‘Reverse It’, but the bass is sensurround. ‘Flipp It’ breaks new ground in the electro/breaks/disembodied voices fusion stakes and adds to the impression that the four tracks on this release embody a very fertile area of sonic cross-pollination indeed.

Seyla - David Lohlein (SK_Eleven)

Title: Seyla
Artist: David Lohlein
Label: SK_eleven
Cat Number: SK11X002
Genre: Techno

A1: Ilyane
A2: Seyla
B1: Muesca
B2: Ritmo

A functional four tracker this, and I mean that in the nicest way. The music is funk fuelled and rubberoid in places, the bounce factor being extremely high and pervasive. The tracks also strike the right balance between clarity and vagueness, there being a healthy degree of opacity within them there grooves. ‘Muesca’ is a standout for me, with its concentric, tribal steel drum peals it sounds like a squadron of flying saucers coming in to attack. Obvious nods to Mills and Ruskin make this a very useful release.

Friday, February 07, 2020

Dirt Nap EP - Joonam (Balagan)

Title: Dirt Nap EP
Artist: Joonam
Label: Balagan
Cat Number: BAL001
Genre: Electro

1: Dirt Nap
2: Dirt Nap (Silicon Scally Remix)
3: Halo Effect
4: Strobe

Well, I’ve just been on a shopping trip to Tesco and back, during which I was listening to a recent DJ Stingray mix and I’m happy to say that ‘Dirt Nap’ carries on where much of it left off. It’s an electro pounder, as we say in the trade. Karl Finlow’s interpretation is less confrontational, but more full-bodied, like that last Cahors I quaffed at the weekend. ‘Halo Effect’ and ‘Strobe’ round off this release in fine style; the former being the funkier, the latter slightly more off kilter. Lovely stuff.

Joy Of Missing Out - Zopelar (Apron Records)

Title: Joy of Missing Out
Artist: Zopelar
Label: Apron Records
Cat Number: AC05
Genre: Evocative Funk Episodes

1: Sozinho a Noite
2: Boia de Neve
3: Looking Back
4: All I Want
5: Driving to The Sun
6: Azy
7: Hobart
8: Travel
9: Jazz da XV
10: Welcome Stranger
11: Phobia
12: Brasilidade
13: Look at Me
14: Tesourinha
15: Praia
16: Vision
17: Locked

This is a collection of mini soundscapes, vignettes I suppose, most of which hover around the three minute mark leaving the listener to imagine what may be about to happen next. There’s also a feeling of what went before; another thread running through is that of an analogue eighties jazz funk future; a time when fusion and improvisation was starting to be tamed by nascent hip-hop and dance. The backdrop shimmers and hazy summer evening feel from beginning to end. There is clarity also, the on point production ensuring this, and a pervasive nostalgia which draws on vibes already experienced, as well as those that are just coming into a cycle of renewal. 

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Connection Error - Cygnus (Craigie Knowes)

Title: Connection Error
Artist: Cygnus
Label: Craigie Knowes
Cat Number: CKNOWEP23
Genre: Electro

A1: Ebony Starlight
A2: My Secret Data
A3: Metroid C64
B1: Connection Error
B2: Votoms

Cygnus, aka Philip Washington, (along with sundry other American electro affiliates), hails from Texas; a part of the United States which sees itself as that little bit different from the rest and sits just north of the Tropic of Cancer. Conscious or not, the climatic influence is strong on this one, as Cygnus’ music contains within it panoramas of humid, nocturnal ambience and, in its funkier moments, (which are ever-present), feels tailor-made to cruise around dark, wide avenues while being bumped. Not only is Cygnus prolific, but he’s also endlessly inventive. His mood setting is masterful and way with synths sublime. Impossible to pick a favourite, but the evocative keys of the title track have stayed with me.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Aluminia - Trypheme (CPU)

Title: Aluminia
Artist: Trypheme
Label: CPU
Cat Number: 01010011
Genre: Indefinable

1: Lava
2: FEY
4: X-Ray Mantra
5: In A Cyber Spiral
6: Cry Silent Cry

Immersive stuff this. The textures, layers and sonic shadows which envelop each composition are geometrically enhanced giving the listener a feeling that everything is in its place, but that there are still places to go. These tunes come across like a virtual, mutating jigsaw. It’s difficult to quantify but we’re leaving ourselves open to endless, unfolding permutations here. Limitless stuff with no beginning or end. ‘In A Cyber Spiral’ feels like the most cohesive piece here, but it’s an illusion; something that is also fostered by ‘EEDYU’ and the disturbing ‘X-Ray Mantra’. There are all sorts of lazy comparisons I could make, but I’ll steer clear. This is as original a release as is likely to be heard this year, hovering somewhere between the inspirational and the intangible.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Apricot - Flora FM (Exotic Robotics)

Title: Apricot
Artist: Flora FM
Label: Exotic Robotics
Cat Number: EXOTIC005
Genre: House

1: Bronze Teeth
2: Cross Antennae
3: Magic Pebbles
4: Softest Moon

Some good vibes to peruse here. Bookended by break beats and all; ‘both ’Bronze Teeth’ and ‘Softest Moon’ dabble in the undulating art, the former more intensely than the other. Pick sides, everyone’s a winner. There’s a softer centre though, with the Detroit-inflected ‘Cross Antennae’ and the mid nineties London warehouse meanderings of ‘Magic Pebbles’; each being a retro future soundtrack to an interstellar journey. There’s a sense of optimism implicit within this release which endears it to the listener, but it’s got a militaristic metre in parts: (‘Bronze Teeth’ and ‘Magic Pebbles’) which occasionally gives it a tougher feel. Wonderfully balanced too.

Write Pulse EP - Assembler Code (Cultivated Electronics)

Title: Write Pulse EP
Artist: Assembler Code
Label: Cultivated Electronics
Cat Number: CE033
Genre: Electro

1: O.Y.M
2: Write Pulse
3: O.Y.M (Sync 24 & Jensen Interceptor Remix)

I’ve been listening to so much electro recently that my mind mural is a constant cavalcade of break dancing b-boys in retro Adidas giving it loads to all manner of dark, dank, funk laden machinations. And Cultivated Electronics has been at the head of the game for quite some time now, proving time and again that this genre is the stuff of life. Oz’s Assembler Code has his own intricate take on this most robotic of sounds, pounding percussion often hemming in erratic, chaotic filigrees of funk. The three original versions on this release are just that, with the remix of O.Y.M taking things up a notch further. Wonderful stuff which is everyone’s soundtrack to their parallel matrix, they just don’t realize it.

Monday, January 20, 2020

January 2020 Chart

Nightmoves #3 – Grumptronix (Wormhole Wisdom)

The third and final in this series, and perhaps the best. Definitely the funkiest. ‘Nightmoves’ goes against the grain a little in this respect, sounding a little too urgent, while ‘Cosmic Glide’ sounds straight from the mind of Cygnus.

Universal Minds – Mihail P. (Ferox)

Excellent release which sounds just as timeless as some of the best on this seminal label. ‘Intense City’ is the least restrained track here, the others all choosing to exercise a modicum of control. This doesn’t make them any less alluring though.

 Innate 003 – Perseus Traxx/Ewan Jansen/Reedale Rise/Owain K. (Innate)

Coming from a similar sonic stratum to Mihail P., this v/a release is a versatile and useful slab to have around when needing something to pull out of the bag. The machine funk is varying and effective, with the sub aquatic syncopation of Perseus Traxx and the drive of Ewan Jansen being my picks. Who knows, I could have changed my mind by tomorrow.

STV444 – Steve O’Sullivan (Aku)

Excellent stuff from Steve O’Sullivan with some pacey, dubby business characterising the original versions, alongside a Janeret remix which is characteristically cosmic and lush. Essential deep, dance floor tackle.

Waves – Ohm/Kvadrant (Kontakt)

I love the Scandinavian approach to dub techno, and here it’s done with aplomb and range. Both versions of ‘Kattegat’ hit the spot, while ‘Skagerak’ and the ambient tailpiece of ‘Oresund’ have depth and vision. You can smell the dill and caraway in the glacial grooves.

Through Fusion – Rudolf C. (Salt Mines)

Another release which has its aquatic credentials well in order. ‘Through Fusion’ is a recognisably Murky take on house, while ‘Geistly’ and ‘Cirqular’ are techy house fusions. ‘Waters Edge’ is the best piece here though. Driving analogue warmth from start to finish.

Objects EP – Salmanazar (Joule Imprint)

Understated goodness from Salmanazar, of whom very little is known. Confident sounding stuff however, with an emphasis ion the continuous groove and what envelops it. ‘Triggers’ shows this to great effect.

ZMNT – Alonzo (Zement)

Dirty, raw, sleazy electro form Alonzo who released on WT recently in a similar vein. This sounds at times that wet farts are its dominant motif, and its all the better for it. ‘My Vibe’ (feat WMN), and ‘The Dead City’ are faves amongst five filthy, funktastic gems.

Right Moment – Fumiya Tanaka (Perlon)

Really satisfying second album on Perlon for Mr. Tanaka and one which feels more well-rounded. There’s a fuller sound on show, the tracks feeling more muscular and upfront. Having said that, 2016s ‘You Find The Key’ wasn’t backward in coming forward either. This is a fine piece of work though, which does a lot to consolidate Tanaka’s talent.

Hands In Motion EP – Adult Sonics (Tresydos)

An EP comprised of three tracks to float to. ‘Slow’ relies on breaks to propel it towards the firmament, while ‘Ambado’ is a percussively reliant housed up fist pumper. Ambado’s remix takes it to a more cosmic dimension. A label to keep an eye on.