Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Selections from We Will Live Again - John Daly (All City Records)


Title: Selections from We Will Live Again
Artist: John Daly
Label: All City Records
Cat Number: ACJD12x1
Genre: Deep House

1: Into The Northern
2: Touch The Sun
3: Dawn
4: Milestones
5: Don’t Ever Stop Loving Me
6: Wild And Free

A sincere and poignant statement accompanies this release. Daly lost his father to cancer, and this music was composed during the time he slipped away. The aftermath of this event was an epiphanic time for him insofar as the importance of his father’s musical influence was concerned. Half of the forthcoming ‘We Will Live Again’ album is present on this release, and it’s a turbulent selection. Listening to bits I’m reminded of ‘Inner City Life’, especially when the vocals kick in. However, this is just a general impression. Having said that, breakbeats are the dominant motif across these compositions, as well as an occasional bass-heavy undertow. The pieces are well-realised and full of character, a reflection, no doubt, of Daly’s emotional state at the time.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Mantras for the Travelling Souls - Fred P & SMBD (Modern Dialect)


Title: Mantras For The Travelling Souls Vol. 1
Artist: Fred P & SMBD
Label: Modern Dialect
Cat Number: MD001
Genre: Deep House

1: Angel Dust
2: Pulling Strings
3: Matralude 1 (Vinyl Only)
4: Hybrid 
5: Mantralude 2 (Vinyl Only)
6: Angel Dust (SMBD Dub) (Digital Only)

You may recoil at the mass of deep house that comes out on a weekly basis. You may also wonder what constitutes the genre, seeing a lack of depth in most releases, and then recoiling at the additional adjective “soulful” thinking it’s one too many and completely unjustified. The music under scrutiny here is of a type that links The Loft to Berghain; in which there’s sincerity, aligned with a contrasting refinement and rawness, which is dynamic, distinct and diverse. I doubt that a more vivid shade of the genre is being released at the moment. I’m reasonably well-versed regarding Fred P, not so with Simbad, who has released under the SMBD alias since sometime last year. so it would be interesting to know exactly who did what here. The ends have justified the means though, whoever is behind what.


A recent Fred P mix I'm enjoying.

Berga Magic EP - Frak (Hypercolour)


Title: Berga Magic EP
Artist: Frak
Label: Hypercolour
Cat Number: HYPE074
Genre: Techno

A1: Tarpaulin
A2: Berga Magic
B1: Monogram
B2: Making Control

An interesting press release accompanies this four tracker, in which Frak get compared to Devo, amongst others, as an example of performance art. I imagine this will be lost on most, but will feel comprehensive in print. Not to worry as the music is interesting enough to compensate, being a dense collage of analogue bleeps, beats and fuzz of slightly varying tempos. Both ‘Monogram’ and ‘Making Control’ fall into the concise bracket, with barely room to maneuver between the beats the space is sought through compact syncopation. ‘Tarpaulin’ and ‘Berga Magic’ on the other hand, contain more space and, ergo, more elongation. It’s six of one and half a dozen of the other here, but it’s very well realised and original.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Alternative Hypothesis EP - Ben Buitendijk (Oblique Music)



Title: Alternative Hypothesis EP
Artist: Ben Buitendijk
Label: Oblique Music
Cat Number: OBQ008
Genre: Techno

1: Contamination Zone
2: Stardust
3: Alternative Hypothesis

I had no idea who Ben Buitendijk is until I heard a track he did for Steve O’Sullivan a while back called ‘Promised Land’, which showed his dubbier side. He also did a splendid mix in the same vein for the Mosaic boss’s excellent mix series. (And I reviewed a past collaboration here). Well, in contrast to the Mosaic stuff, this release has a harder edge, but only really comes out all guns blazing on ‘Contamination Zone’. Both ‘Stardust’ and ‘Alternative Hypothesis’ are sparser, more minimally cosmic cuts, and owe a debt to Jeff Mills. All three tracks float on their own momentum and the production is top notch. Subtle and effective stuff.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

A Drexciyan Legacy: CB2 Norfolk Street 1/9/18 Cambridge



Last night Emmanuelle and me popped out and found our way to CB2 on Norfolk Street. I work in Cambridge so I parked the car where I do on a normal day; a walk of around 15 minutes between us and the bar. Mill Rd was bustling, with its many restaurants seemingly doing brisk business. Once we got towards Norfolk Street though, I was struck by how relatively quiet the area was. Not to worry. We reached the bar, got drinks and went upstairs. The room was small, cozy but, at the time we arrived, empty except for a small group on a table ahead of us, and the gentlemen controlling the proceedings. No matter. The music was great, the visuals suitably impressive and the ambience relaxing. 


I chatted to Laurence Fisher, the brains behind “Motherchip Connexion” an electro night in Cambridge which puts on occasional soirees, mainly at The Man in the Moon, and he spoke as only an enthusiast can regarding the current state of play concerning his taste in music and trying to put it across to the good people of Cambridge. Under no illusions as to the size of the task regarding staging an electro night in the city, he was very friendly and good humoured, but also realistic. I’ve never attended one of the Motherchip nights, and was told that they do ok, but only really fill up for the last hour or so. When this happens they go off, but venue restrictions cut them off in their prime. 

Back to last night; Laurence was joined by Eddie Symons, aka Nullptr aka Bovaflux, and while we were there the music was being played  on some sort of Traktor device. We were content to sit, sip and enjoy the infallibly good sonic treats which flooded through the speakers. The place did start getting busier and happy to say, but there was a very obvious absence of more X chromosomes. Two girls did come to the top of the stairs at one point, but then disappeared. Anyway, we only stayed for an hour and a half, and it might have got busier later on. The conversation on the next table was getting very deep at one point, with one lad earnestly asking the others if they’d red Kodwo Eshun’s ‘More Brilliant Than The Sun’, possibly as a result of me trying to explain to Emmanualle the afrofuturist references within the Drexciyan legacy. 








Nifty little handout from last night.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Dust And Haze - Valya Kan (Work Them Records)



Title: Dust & Haze
Artist: Valya Kan
Label: Work Them Records
Cat Number: WorkThemRecLP001
Genre: Techno

1: Leave
2: Machine Soul
3: Promises
4: Sick
5: A Perfect Emotion
6: Smoke In The Cockpit
7: Time Capsule
8: Acid Hotel
9: Berlin Mornin’ Summer
10: Promises Dub
11: Saturday 1542

So often the concept of the album is debunked by a lack of understanding as to what it actually is. ‘Dust and Haze’ strays well clear of this and treads a careful, eponymous path through the potential conflicts between different auditory turfs in order to effortlessly rise to the occasion and demonstrate that patience is not only a virtue, but is an essential prerequisite both on the part of the artist and listener. This is a piece of work in more than one sense of the expression; it’s not a collection of highs and lows, rather a sonic smorgasbord of understatement. It clearly goes for the jugular on tracks like “Acid Hotel’ and ‘Sick’, but its power is no less potent on ‘Leave’, ‘’Machine Soul and ‘Promises’, in addition to those other compositions in which a singular sense of nuance and subtlety prevails.


Friday, August 24, 2018

Hyper Orbit - The Burrell Connection (Craigie Knowes)


Title: Hyper Orbit
Artist: The Burrell Connection 
Label: Craigie Knowes
Cat Number: CKNOWEP11
Genre: Techno

1: Hyoer 14.255
2: Hyoer 480
3: Orbit 458
4: Orbit 512

This feels like a release spanning four facets of hardcore, with both ‘Orbit 458’ and ‘Orbit 512’ going down a chasm in search of solitude. As for the other two, they each have their own story to tell. Damned if I know what it is though. Much more frenetic they are; ‘Hyper 480’ is a little too busy for my ears, but the omnipresent cosmic lull that underpins it manages to maintain some semblance of control; it’s proto drum and bass coupled with chaos. ‘Hyper 14.255’ is a more dynamic reflection of ‘Orbit 512’, with breaks cascading over acid welts and deep, synthesized, resonant cataracts. This is a very versatile and interesting release that I can’t quite make my mind up about, but look forward to having many more meetings with.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Skudge 012 - Skudge (Skudge)


Title: Skudge 12
Artist: Skudge
Label: Skudge
Cat Number: SKUDGE012
Genre: Techno

A: Quasi
B: Parallel

Skudge keep it simple and understated on this double header, and in doing so send out mind bombs to those who believe that the minimal groove should be anything else but simple and understated. There’s not a lot going on here, but what does is quintessential dubbed out minimalism which mines a rich vein of linear, BC influenced techno. The louder this pair is played, the closer to nirvana you’ll get. Made for the mix, there will be times when they’ll stand on their own two feet, but for now all I can hear is the sound of level upon level of weaker shit being overlaid on either of these tracks in order to achieve transition.

Chi Chi Pensa, Rimane Senza - Patagonia (PanickPanick!)


Title: Chi Chi Pensa/Rimane Senza
Artist: Patagonia
Label: PanickPanick!
Cat Number: PP04
Genre: Minimal House/Techno

1: Chi Chi Pensa
2: Rimane Senza

Ostensibly composed of nothing, except wind and air, ‘Chi Chi Pensa’ is just the type of thing I used to love throwing shapes to down at Wiggle at the end of the last century. A throbbing, cardiac base underpins a driving groove which is interrupted by some high end synth stabs and breathy female vocals; (I doubt they would have been too much of a feature under London Bridge’s arches, and possibly reflect something a bit more sinister). ‘Rimane Senza’, on the other hand, feels undercooked and over reliant on a grandiose, posturing vocal sample. It bowls along gamely enough though, which is nice.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Stasis

As far as record buying is concerned, I’m going through a fallow period. While still keeping an ear to the ground and remaining very much aware of what’s going on, I’m not parting with much cash. I don’t think I’ve bought anything for a couple of months, but I have a permacart in Juno with a crock of stuff just waiting to go. Something is holding me back though. I suppose it’s a combination of a lack of money, priorities and space.  Vinyl is becoming too expensive as well. There’s still nothing like receiving a fresh shipment of sounds and playing them all for the first time. However, it’s really important to be choosier than in the past. It’s also a good idea not to be too attached to vinyl. I realize that label owners are trying to make as much as they can and so put out limited editions more and more often. This is their prerogative and I’m fine with it. What frustrates me though is not that these releases often don’t get a repress, but that they aren’t issued digitally. I stopped worrying about vinyl exclusivity a long time ago.  If a digital release accompanies the vinyl one it doesn’t devalue it in any way. Also, more music should be exclusively digital in an effort to negate the stereotype of boutique vinyl labels being of implicit higher quality. This is inevitable, as the rise in vinyl sales is a myth and, compered to sales in the past, nothing to write home about. What everybody knows is that this so-called rise owes nothing to the genres which have kept it in business over the last ten or so years. It’s most visible manifestation being the odious record store day, a gentrified pile of steaming shit, whose main purpose is to put the brakes on pressing plants at the expense of house, techno and other relative niche genres.

I’m going to see how long it takes for all the records I have in my cart to go before I cough up the cash. It’s a sure thing that they’ll stay put for a lot longer than they would have a few years ago. In spite of what people may think, record sales are not rising, not as far as house and techno are concerned anyway. There has been a shift towards Discogs and more specialist purchases. I also feel that for the first time quality is dropping, hence the shift. As mentioned on these pages before, the cult of the digger is more pervasive, but this is illusory. It also gives life to forgotten tracks, some of which bring nothing to the table at all, save that they have been played by certain DJs. Technique or timing? That is the question.




I’m reading ‘Love Saves The Day’ at the moment; a book about the rise of disco and the DJ in New York throughout the 1970s. It may move onto pastures new, but I’m around 40% through it (Kindle version), and I don’t know which corners are going to be turned. It sort of takes David Mancuso and The Loft as a focal point, but branches out all over and goes into nerdishly exhaustive detail as far as playlists,  the DJ lifestyle and certain proclivities are concerned. I’m enjoying it very much and, while I’m not that old, it fills me with nostalgia for my eclectic Liverpool hunting grounds throughout the 1980s. Of course there’s very little real comparison to be made, save for the hedonism of discovering and dancing to new music at a certain age, and the escape that such temporary autonomous zones provide. I guess I’ll finish it over the next couple of weeks while I’m on holiday in the south of France. I was reading Simon Reynolds’ ‘Shock And Awe: Glam Rock And Its Legacy’ at the same time last year.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Odessa Calling EP - Swayzak (Rekids)



Title: Odessa Calling EP
Artist: Swayzak 
Label: Rekids
Cat Number: REKIDS123
Genre: Techno

A1: Odessa Calling
B1: Numbers Station

Swayzak releases have always had an epic scope and this double header is no exception. Using all available production tricks, both of these tracks seem to be playing well within themselves while emanating a confidence borne from a lack of urgency. Both ‘Odessa Calling’ and ‘Numbers Station’ saunter along, but take giant steps as they go. There is a lot going on between the lines as well; ‘Numbers Station’ is particularly characterized by emotive strips of sound which rise and fall before crashing into each other. It’s electronic ork battle music, mate. ‘Odessa Calling’ is a little bit more dubbed out and scales similar heights, but is less dramatic. It makes up for this however, by its progressive shape shifting as it evolves.

Flight 770 - Thee J Johanz (Ballyhoo Records)



Title: Flight 770 
Artist: - Thee J Johanz 
Label: Ballyhoo Records
Cat Number: BALL108
Genre: House

1: Flight 770
2: Night Of The Invisible
3: Thunder Over Tbilisi
4: Look At All Those Stars

I first came into contact with Thee J Johanz after buying ‘Move Your Butty’,  having first heard Nick Hoppner mixing it out of and into something else. It’s understated insistence struck a chord so I got curious. I know nothing about the man himself, but it comes as no surprise to learn that he has a rich heritage, having recorded on the legendery Irdial Discs back in the mid nineties. This release echoes of ‘Move Your Butty’; there is a similar adherence to spatial detail with the various sonic components having plenty of room to breath. Johanz Westerman knows how to get the juices flowing, and on the basis of this EP is a master of the sparse acid overlay, the 303 being omnipresent, (except in ‘Night of the Invisable’), but never overplayed throughout this release. Lovely stuff.

Monday, July 02, 2018

I See You In The Shrubs - Eyes Of Others (Paradise Palms)



Title: I See You In The Shrubs  
Artist: Eyes Of Others
Label: Paradise Palms
Cat Number: PP009
Genre:

1: I See You In The Shrubs (12” Mix)
2: I See You In The Shrubs (Andrew Weatherall’s A Shrub From Outer Space)
3: I See You In The Shrubs (Donald Dust’s Other Thumper)

It’s easy to understand why this gets a remix from Andrew Weatherall; low slung groover meets stoner waffle which is on he one hand slightly whimsical, the other sonic attack. I suppose a lot of attention will be focused on AW’s remix, which is nice, but losing the original’s incantatory vocal riddim means losing a lot of charm. The voice does stay, however, but in isolated statements of intent. I’m feeling ‘Donald Dust’s Other Thumper’ more myself, which hollows things out and adds emphasis to the subtle layers of sharpened, dubbed kaleidoscopic effects. It’s a subtle pimping of the original in which the base elements coalesce perfectly.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

They're Coming - Delano Smith (Mixmode)



Title: They’re Coming
Artist: Delano Smith
Label: Mixmode
Cat Number: MM013
Genre: Deep House

1: They’re Coming
2: Safe Place

Impeccable grooves from Delano Smith, simple, reliable, effective. He’s peerless when it comes to the low sling dubby stuff, and that’s exactly what you get here. These two could form the backbone of a set for most of the night, such is their versatility. Another thing in their favour is their inherent drugginess; the subtleties which run riot over the top of this pair are on a par with the messiest house has to offer, and they are underpinned by an unerring drive. Fandabidozi!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Metropolis EP - Kornel Kovacs (UTTU)


Title: Metropolis EP 
Artist:  Kornel Kovacs 
Label: Unknown To The Unknown
Cat Number: UTTU086
Genre: House

1: Metropolis
2: Babasonic
3: Panda

‘Metropolis’ is an instantly forgettable looped piece of house with a wanton female vocal. I imagine the radio version is there either because it’s got hit potential, or to save the listener from the longer rendering, which is twice the length. ‘Babasonic’ is far more interesting, as is ‘Panda’. Both tracks play with wobbly sonics and live in a nether region populated by lo-fi riddims, playful experimentation and a propensity to shuffle. I stopped at Corley Services on my way back from Liverpool a few weeks ago and the chap working at Burger King remarked on my Hot Haus tee shirt. I wonder if he would like this?

Dance Trax Vol 14 - Vin Sol (UTTU)


Title: Dance Trax Vol. 14
Artist: Vin Sol
Label: Unknown To The Unknown
Cat Number: DANCETRAX014
Genre: House

1: On Top
2: My Friend Is In The Main Room
3: Manage
4: Battery Leak

You know what’s coming: raw, rough-edged composotions which recall the golden days of US house trackiness. Heavily derivative they are, but no less substantial. Both ‘Manage’ and ‘Battery Leak’ explore the higher end, with jittery rhythms which mix acid, rubberoid bottom ends and hand claps into enhanced invocations of perspiration. ‘My Friend . . . .’ is no exception to the rule, but goes on a slightly different direction with its compression-led accordion stabs. It’s ‘On Top’ that grabs me the most though; a track which combines the best elements of the other three, and plops a spoken word sample on top for good measure. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Box It Ken EP - MadderModes (Dred)


Title: Box It Ken EP
Artist: MadderModes
Label: Dred Records
Cat Number: DRED006
Genre: Deep House

1: Box it Ken (John Osborne Remix)
2: Box It Ken
3: Appalachian Groove
4: Teil
5: Northwest Passage

Taking the original versions first: tracks two and three are quite rich and unctuous. ‘Appalachian Groove’ is a synth heavy builder which strikes out for the stars, peaking and fluctuating both randomly and controlled. Both ‘Teil’ and ‘Northwest Passage’ show different tribal inflections. Each are urgent; but while the former is busy and compact, the latter is more sparse and loping. Both versions of the title track dominate the package, and each has a slany on greatness; John Osborne’s is probably the more distinctive of the two, with a fuller sound, but there’s a drive about the original version which feels irresistible. Having said all of the above, what all of this boils down to is  that this is great drug music, and will sound great when you’re off your cake. No higher praise needed.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Ne0 Ge0 - Cygnus (Barba)



Title: Ne0 Ge0
Artist: Cygnus
Label: Barba
Cat Number: BAR016
Genre: Electro

A1: Zone Shifting
B1: Vertexing
C1: Ne0 Ge0
B2: Astronoot

Well this is nice. Cygnus, aka Philip Washington returns with his first release since 2016 and what a lush affair it is. Straddling a nether world of funk, electro, rolling, tumbling late night vibes and embellished with what feels like a sideways take on eighties jazz fusion in parts, this is an impressive, individual interpretation of everything that made that era great, while feeling completely contemporary. Does that make any sense? What’s even more bizarre is that this release has come out on a label from the country that gave us Dejan Lovren! Cygnus and Croatia take a bow. Possibly the best thing I’ve heard all year, and I’ve heard a lot. Vocoders rule!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Pioneers EP - Derek Carr (Craigie Knowes)


Title: Pioneers EP
Artist: Derek Carr
Label: Craigie Knowes
Cat Number: CNOWEP10
Genre: Techno

A1: Acid Bath
A2: Anthenia
B1: The Pioneers
B2: Hanging On A String

Another week, another Derek Carr release, or at least that’s how it feels. Not that this is an inconvenience though as the quality control is continually high and the variety wide. Craigie Knowes, who are on a simultaneous, roll all of their own have chosen well as this four tracker emphasizes what a properly polyvalent producer the Irishman is. Touching on acid, (‘Acid Bath’), electro (‘The Pioneers’), and two distinct shades of gliding, emotive techno (‘Anthenia’ and ‘Hanging On A String’), this four tracker exudes energy and positivity. Mr. Carr sounds like he had a lot of fun making this record. And why shouldn’t he have had? These four weapons should raise the temperature and lighten the mood whenever they are deployed.

A Says Hello EP - Alton Miller (Release Sustain)




Title: A Says Hello EP
Artist: Alton Miller
Label: Release/Sustain
Cat Number: RS028
Genre: House

1: A Says Hello
2: Cool But So . . . 
3: Cool But So . . . (Chaos In The CBD Remix)
4: Below The Underdog

The last time I saw Alton Miller play was at a party in the bois du Vincennes in 1997 I think. He was on a bill that included Andy Weatherall, who, the promoter wasted no time in telling us, had to cancel because of a dental appointment. No one believed him and we were all a little disappointed. Fortunately Mr Miller was able to offer some deep house solace on the night and kept things ticking over, playing deep, soulful house of which this latest release is very much reminiscent. There’s not a lot of variety here, but quality control is high, with each track, including the remix, being of the sun kissed on the French Riviera variety, resplendent with percussive disco licks which send your brain back to a time when, in spite of the cold war, life seemed a little bit simpler and more innocent. I suppose it’s because I was a kid then. Ah, well , , , , ,

Monday, June 11, 2018

June 2018 Mix



Paradise Engineering – Galaxian (Return to Disorder)
Elements – John Shima (Firescope)
Visions – ANF (Naff)
July 5 – Robin Ordell (Hello, Repeat?)
El Malekon – Pol & Pot (Toi Toi)
Pulsatii Profunde – (SAM Remix) – Teleruic (Joule Imprint)
Metalurgic Funk Vol. 1 Track 3 – E GZR (Wania)
Rhe Caves – Feral (Hypnus)
Trance 13 (Trance Wax)
Sunset in Tulum – James Solace (Calisto)
Tears – Darren Harris (Ferox)
Asylum – Dawl (Tone Dropout)
005-1- Vlad Atapasu (Atipic)
Canadian (Thor Reconstruction) – Luminer  (We Play The Music We Love)
Severus – M.A.D. (Yoshi)
Star Seeker – Horoshi Watanabe (Select Kashiwa)
Permutation – VC118A (Frustrated Funk)

Friday, June 08, 2018

DontjusttalkaboutitbeAboutIt - JAI.MAHL (Midnight Shift)





Title: #DontjusttalkaboutitbeAboutIt
Artist: JAI/MAHL
Label: Midnight Shift
Cat Number: MNSX012
Genre: Techno

A1: #dARE2mATTER
A2: #ICU
B1: #UWILLNOT
B2: # DontjusttalkaboutitbeAboutIt

The urgency and ambience that runs throughout this release is its most distinguishing characteristic. The track names help, and evoke Prince, but it’s all about the music which is dense, at times claustrophobic, and full of rhythm and soul. If there is cause for criticism it’s with ‘#UWILLNOT’ which although coherent, does feel a little overdone. ‘#ICU’ on the other hand, iwith its discordant swirls of dark sonic matter, is a masterpiece. Both ‘#dARE2mATTER’ and ‘# DontjusttalkaboutitbeAboutIt’ bookend a package which attempts the melding of the abstract within levels of cantilevered, collateral damage, all of which falls into place rather splendidly, in spite of itself. This package feels conservative for Jamal Moss, but it’s still light years ahead of most.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Klangbilder - Albert Van Abbe (Echocord Colour)


Title: Klangbilder EP
Artist: Albert van Abbe
Label: Echocord Colour
Cat Number: ECHOCORDCOLOUR042
Genre: Techno

1: Klangbuilder 1
2: Klangbuilder 2
3: Klangbuilder 3
4: Klangbuilder 4

‘Klangbuilder’ has menace doesn’t it? The word is loaded and to call each track on a particular release the same thing, and award a number for differentiation adds to the tension. The first two tracks are funk fuelled frolic fiends, the first distinguished by what sounds like a string section, the second a stark bleepy number with a flat, bleak underlay. Albert could have left it at that, but then he goes all ambient on us, and tracks 3 and 4 are an exercise in patience that I could have done without. They’re ok, with the beat less 4 being more memorable. I was in the mood for dancing though.

The Revenge (Luca Lozano Remixes) - Radio Slave (Rekids)


Title: The Revenge (Luca Lozano Remixes)
Artist: Radio Slave
Label: Rekids
Cat Number: REKIDS120
Genre: House

A: Revenge (Luca Lozano’ How Bow Dis’ remix)
B: Revenge (Luca Lozano’ How Bow Dah’ remix)

Do you like it taut and bouncy, or lush and spacey? I suppose I must be getting old, or more touchy about these things, but is there no other way? Both of these remixes no doubt hit the spot on the dance floor, but neither does that much to tickle my fancy. If I have to choose then I suppose it’s B, with its slightly more introspective take; A feels limited. However, context is everything and, in the right hands this pair could be a deadly layer providing the catalyst for something more adventurous.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Retroactive (Pt 2) - Sir Lord Commix (R Time)




Title: Retroactive (Part Two)
Artist: Sir Lord Commix
Label: R-Time Records
Cat Number: RTM003
Genre: Deep House

A1: UR My Omen
A2: Fog Horn
B1: Chicago Jazz
B2: Motionvibe

A superbly-crafted Detroit/Chicago homage. From the obvious motor city leanings of ‘UR My Omen’ to ‘Chicago Jazz’, this is a release which while breaking no new ground, (not surprising, considering these tracks have been in circulation for some time now, on various lesser known releases), consolidates that which had been covered and, as its name suggests, has fun doing so. It was only last week that I came across my copy of ‘Evidence’ and gave it a good work out, and also noticed the not inconsiderable price it currently commands on Discogs. This made me smile, but some new material wouldn’t go amiss Mr. Sir Lord. 

Monday, May 28, 2018

Notions of Progress - 65D Mavericks (Surface)




Title: Notions of Progress
Artist: 65D Mavericks
Label: Surface
Cat Number: SF 65D 369.1
Genre: Techno

A1: False Prophets
A2: Cosmic Drift
B1: You Lost Your Mind
B2: Immovable (Dub)

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of spoken word. However, I’m left cold by that on ‘False Prophets’, a track which feels so contrived that I’m left thinking what might have been had the backing track been left to its own devices, and the whirring drone that filters in and out of been turned up a notch to dominate; it’s shouty and dated. Similarly, ‘You’ve Lost Your Mind’ feels recorded at the same squat session. ‘Cosmic Drift’ and ‘Immovable (dub)’ both dispense with the vocals and sound all the better for it. Having said that, the whole EP feels lazy and, in spite of the over ten year hiatus, rushed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Traveller - Morphology (Firescope)



Title: Traveller
Artist: Morphology
Label: Firescope
Cat Number: FS011
Genre: Electro

A1: Distant Signal
A2: Second Light
A3: Farthest Regions
B1: Hidden Variable
B2: Memory Fragments
B3: Detached
C1: Pod Bay 8
C2: Bipolar Nebula
D1: Kernel Method
D2: Deutoros

The artwork, depicting a brutalist spaceship interior, of the type pioneered by the Nostromo, (minus the darkness), ensures that the music will not be of this world. And indeed it isn’t. Which leads one to speculate whether electro will ever feel earthbound. The track titles support the theory that it won’t happen any time soon, not if Finland’s finest electronic exports, along with Aleksi Perala, have anything to do with it. Concepts come and go, but nothing beats good old space exploration, particularly when it’s handled so sensitively. This album works because it gets the balance right time and time again by playing to its strengths. It never tries to be something it isn’t. It reeks of machine funk efficiency, the beats mainly being hard hitting, pausing for thought during ’Memory Fragments’, ‘Detached’, ‘Bipolar Nebula’ and slouching to a graceful finish with ‘Deuteros’. This is a solid piece of work, whose origins can be traced back to the lack of homework in Finnish schools, and the consequent free time thereof spent practicing on analogue hardware.