Monday, August 19, 2019

Time to throw Down EP - Dawl (Craigie Knowes)

Title: Time to Throw Down EP
Artist: Dawl
Label: Craigie Knowes
Cat Number: CKNOWEP19
Genre: Modern Realisation of Rave Cross-Pollination

1: Let’s Go
2: Drop It
3: Heavyweight
4: Overdub

Everything you need and more. The pervasive Dawl debuts on Craigie Knowes with four high octane post rave tunes which stretch break beats to new limits and add a glossy sheen to the proceedings. This type of purloining reminds me of ‘The Fifth Element’, which shamelessly cherry picked so much from contemporary space sci-fi it was beyond a joke. There is one important difference though: ‘The Fifth Element’ is derivative crap, while ‘Time to Throw Down’ breaks new ground with its uninhibited glance across the trenches of acidic cross-pollination. The production is tighter than a pair of Peter Sagan’s shorts which results in a fullness of sound and the feeling that you’re riding on the crest of the hardcore continuum.

Everybody In The Place

Not late to this at all, but only back from holiday last night so embedded for posterity now. Most of you who take the time to look at this blog will have probably already seen this masterwork. It's appeal lies in its simplicity. The clarity with which Dellar joins the dots between club culture and social upheaval is effortless, and the format is original and inspiring.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Plastic Entertainment - Alfie (Outer Zone)

Title: Plastic Entertainment
Artist: Alfie
Label: Outer Zone
Cat Number: OUZ03
Genre: Techno

A1: Coasting
A2: Jaded Dream
B1: Return to Planet E
B2: The Escapist

An alias of The Burrell Connection; Alfie releases on La Cheetah Club’s in house label and manages to create a temporal autonomous zone within which a heady, dense concoction of incantatory electronica resides. This is a smashing EP, full of variety and depth. There are so many tones and textures overlaid within each track that it feels futile to go into detail on each. So I’ll summarise by saying that this is one of the best releases I’ve heard all year. From the dense, otherworldy vibes of ‘Coasting’, to the break beat casbar ambience of ‘The Escapist’, interrupted by the bottom heavy urgent electro of ‘Jaded Dreams’ and ‘Return to Planet E’ (s) fleet-footed solar sleight of hand, this is bang on the money. 

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Permanently On The Cusp

I want to write something about not going out anymore. This is something I have done before, and probably will again. It’s not a comment on being an old fart and having made a conscious decision not to engage, rather something which I suppose has been fallen into with the option of climbing out at any time. What could make this happen is a reconfigurement of the clubbing experience to suit me. I would imagine we are all after something to suit our individual needs, while being realistic enough to acknowledge that individually we are not both the centre of the universe and simultaneously having to search for sonic solace to suit ourselves. Clubs reinvent themselves all the time, but are often culturally constricted depending on where they are located. As well as this, the DJ is a person who while being derided for not being a proper musician and consequently often much lower on the evolutionary scale, works his/her arse off, doesn’t lead a normal life, is constantly on show and judged, all of which can lead to depression and low self-esteem. The pressure to be perfect and to constantly rock parties is immense. Promoters can be shifty being on the breadline is a lot closer than a lot of people realize. 

Money talks and with it artistic dilution often follows. So it may seem contradictory that while I acknowledge the fact that everyone has to earn a decent wage and not be burdened by the wolf at the door, I feel it beyond me to pay what I regard as over the odds to go to clubs and festivals. Without wanting to sound like an old arse, but knowing that I do, it really was “better in my day” as far as these devil’s dumplings of entertainment are concerned. Even though I would love to go again, I couldn’t pay the price for most festival tickets knowing that the same amount of money would pay for an all-inclusive city break in the European location of my choice. There are a few exceptions, but maybe for next year now: Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Festival in Sete, and Andy Weatherall’s Covenanza in Carcassonne. Both pricey, inasmuch as you have to get to the south of France for each, but much less stressful to prepare for: no ear to the phone for intractable amounts of time only to be told you haven’t got a ticket, no feeding numerous corporate interests, etc . . . Once there I would expect the level of intensity to be bespoke and the level of intimacy high for the occasion. This fits in nicely with the Weatherall and Sean Johnston helmed ‘A Love From Outer Space’ whose ethos is:

“The tempo of the tracks played never exceeds 122bpm, to create “An oasis of slowness in a world of increasing velocity”.

The Worldwide Festival is a bit less leftfield than this, but any event whose partners are culturally connected to the area where the festival takes place, as well as jazz, and who don’t seem to be opportunistic are fine by me. Like Covenanza the festival is divided between live music and DJ sets and covers a wide range of bases, and like Covenanza the setting is everything. In each case the locality is actively promoted, through food, drink and other cultural characteristics: Mr. Weatherall has an interest in the history of the Cathars and if you’re there for the weekend, a trip to see the ruins of their forts shouldn’t be missed.

I’m all for getting as far away from an experience that treats you like cattle as possible. Is this getting old? Probably; of course you never feel you’re being exploited too much when you’re younger, in spite of being herded around in uncomfortable spaces with barely room to breath. I’m also a big fan of daytime clubbing: why does this always have to happen at night? It’s easy to say that in The UK we don’t have the climate for it, but I’m not really on about being outdoors. Anywhere will do within reason; it doesn’t even have to be all about dancing. Listening bars are wonderful. I remember going to Amsterdam in the early eighties and being struck by the emphasis on music in the coffeshops. Most, if not all of those I visited had turntables, (not a pair of Technics mind, rather a normal belt drive with accompanying rack hi-fi system), accompanying a large stack of vinyl and cassettes. The last thing you wanted to do was dance in these establishments; getting baked being the modus operandi. It made an impression though, and is one of those sonic snapshots I carry with me to this day, endlessly hypothesizing regarding what might have been, and maybe could still be. I’ve never been one of those people who says that my DJing career got off the ground when I was barely into double figures courtesy of playing Man Parrish by accident when I was 9. There’s no need to talk about it at all, it’s simply another layer of life.  A slab of sound that is pervasive, all day every day. I play music every day at home, but not always in the way I want to. It’s mostly on the computer on itunes;  that much maligned piece of software which has never been an issue for me. I have a pair of 1210s, as well as a NAD pre and power amp, Yamaha cassette player and radio. All of these components have been with me for more than the last twenty years. Well cared for, they are my most prized possessions, yet I don’t use them as much as I should. I think that this is out of a sense of care and love. I don’t want to run them into the ground. I’d be lost without them and I want them around forever. Once I’m back from holiday I will finally invest in some CDJs, try to get rid of quite a bit of vinyl and concentrate on being more bespoke. I’m in awe of the technically proficient and plan to be the same.

And finally, how difficult is it to get rid of records? I have a few I’d like to see the back of, and am looking to start selling on Discogs once I get back from my holiday, but the hassle of doing this, coupled with the likely trickle, rather than torrent, of stuff from my house, makes me want to cut my losses and give them all away. I have a lot of good stuff and am not looking for amazing prices, a little bit of pocket money would be nice. I’m also regularly hearing about what a pain in the arse some of the customers can be. This seems to be a thing with Discogs; maybe it’s manifest nerdiness in the form of fastidiousness. The Chinese rebuilt most of Shanghai quicker than my procrastinating over this. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Skyhealer EP - Miles Atmospheric (Firescope)

Title: Sky Healer EP
Artist: Miles Atmospheric
Label: Firescope
Cat Number: FS020
Genre: Lush

A1: Exoplanetology
A2: Our Future
B1: Waters of Life
B2: See the Light

Firescope’s latest release fuses it with one of the UK underground’s unsung heroes. Miles Sagnia has been making emotively charged deep house for some time now so releasing on Steven Rutter’s label must have been an obvious course of action. This quadruple header presents the listener with a delicately modulated selection of blissed-out beats, each of which highlights Sagnia’s skill in the department of aural architectural mind bending. The tunes here range from the twinkly ambience of ‘Our Future’ to the surging, interstellar journey which is ‘Exoplanetology’. In between ‘Waters of Life’ and ‘See the Light’ respectively evoke primeval and metropolitan transcendental worlds, whose symmetry, while not always obvious, feels natural here.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Spasm, Turbulence - Maelstrom (C-Know -Evil)

Title: Spasm/Turbulence
Artist: Maelstrom
Label: C-Know-Evil
Cat Number: EVIL002
Genre: Techno/Electro

1: Spasm
2: Turbulence

‘Spasm’ is a throb of suppressed power from beginning to end. It bides its time, safe in the knowledge of its ability to wreak dance floor destruction whenever it pleases. ‘Turbulence’ burns a little more slowly but peaks more intensely. Both tracks are nicely rough around the edges, not in the sense of any lack of completion, more of a calculated one of disciplined dissonance. Maelstrom, aka  Joan-Mael Peneau, knows his onions and has crafted two tracks for Craigie Knowes sub-label which are both snapshot soundtracks to a fast-forwarded third law of thermodynamics.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Chart: 7/19

Hallo Androiden – John Beltran (Delsin)

Available on pink vinyl from Delsin’s shop, which is always a good reason to have stuff like this sent to your door instead of buying it at the shop.This is proficient, classy stuff from Beltran, which strikes a nice balance between beats and immersive ambience. You won’t splash around too much in the floatation tank to this collection.

Mind Drift EP – ARDB (Geodesic)

Cracking stuff. The title track stands out but is well-supported by a trio which contribute almost equally to an EP which is a cosmic techno/electro breath of fresh air. Reedale Rise remixes ‘Inversion’ without overshadowing the original.

Bring the Noise – Diego Krause (Unison Wax)

I’m glad I finally discovered Diego Krause, but sad it’s taken this long as he makes tunes which I love. On the face of it these are low slung groove monsters with syncopation in spades . . . and that’s about all really. So many do this type of thing but they come out hollow in the process. Not Mr. Krause, who on checking his back catalogue, has been conducting object lessons in MDMA funk for some time now.

Description EP – Anderson (Tresydos)

I hadn’t heard of Anderson before this release, but am happy to say that now I have, I’m impressed. ‘Description’ sounds warm, dense and would mix in very well with something off ‘Bring the Noise’. Great drums throughout means that there is always a recognizable foundation around which the bass can wind. A little bit whimsical too, which is nice.

Soa – Tofu Productions (Perlon)

Fumiya Tanaka and Thomas Melchior make up Tofu Productions and together they have come up with  a double header which, while it does take a predictable Perlon path, is off-kilter and eccentric enough to keep things interesting. There’s a reassuring thump in ‘I Believe I Need’ and a nice off key organ in ‘SOA’ which absorb and give body when needed.

A Glimpse Beyond EP – V/A (Fake Society)

I was led here by Camelia, whose spacey journeys I find most agreeable. This seems to be Fake Society’s signature sonic footprint, and it’s great to have records like this to wash the  more minimal, and sometimes one-dimensional tracks in the mix. Lizz, Sublee and Los Bastoneros also feature.

Programmed Memories – Blotter Trax (Frustrated Funk)

A nom de plume of Magda and TB Arthur, I don’t know why but I’m surprised to see their output released on this label. On listening to this I’m immediately struck by a resemblance to Louderbach/Troy Pierce. It’s certainly a bit of a departure for Frustrated Funk. It has menace though, and that’s an important quality.

The Orbitants 2 – V/A (FU ME)

A various artists release on red vinyl featuring, amongst others, Heinrich Dressel, Jensen Interceptor and Galaxian. Dressel does ambient, but for everyone else it’s a bit more uptempo. A lot of bases are covered here, with Lake Haze’s Lovecraft influenced ‘System Glitch’ being my favourite.

Time Heals All Wounds – George Earnest/Der Opium Queen (Echovolt)

A subtly varied three tracker, with ‘Ultralush’ standing out as an abstract floor filler, the type that envelops the dance and endows it with a dream-like ambience. ‘Rainy Day’ is an onomatopoeic stroll on wet pavement while ‘Time Heals All Wounds’ does something similar but at a more joyful tempo. This is a clever release.

Fall of the Humanoids – Dawl & Sween (Klasse Wrecks)

I like Dawl a lot, which also means that I must like Sween too, as he is a long-time collaborator. This EP, which follows up last year’s ‘Rise . . .’ is again a very competent blend of electro, techno, bleep and beats with the all important pervasive rave ingredient thrown in. Ominously funky.

Eli Verveine

Storming mix from Switzerland's finest. The highest compliment I can pay this is that it would go off at Wiggle. If you want a taste of what tech house used to be before it became bastardised, check it out.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Synthase - Biochip (CPU)

Title: Synthase
Artist: Biochip
Label: CPU
Cat Number: CPU01001110
Genre: Electro/Techno

1: M.O.
2: Simulated Events
3: Frame Shift
4: Doctor Effect
5: Acid Billy
6: Tone Forest
7: Information Superhighway
8: Dusty Dossier

A debut release, recorded live you say? Well colour me interested; particularly if its being released on a label which gets it right to such an extent that the very action of doing so can now be regarded as conceptual. The little snippets of information that I have been able to garner thus far have all told me the same thing, that this is a release which reeks of early Aphex and Autechre. Well, even though I was around at the time and have a reasonable recollection of said stuff, I’m ignoring it all and going in eyes wide shut. Listened point to point this release is a very gratifying linear experience. Everything is swathed in aural Vaseline, eschewing precise definition and focus. The melancholia is strong, but not overwhelming and there is just the right amount of restraint. That is until we get to ‘Acid Billy’, which feels bizarrely out of place. Having said that, as it introduces the second side of the vinyl release it does herald a game of two halves, with ‘Tone Forest’, ‘information Superhighway’, and ‘Dusty Dossier’ adding extra syncopated support. That’s not to say the first four tracks lack energy, but there is a vibe departure after ‘Doctor Effect’, which I like very much. I like this release a lot, and its making me think about things I don’t normally think about, which has to be good.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Strings of Love - Fabio Monesi (Craigie Knowes)

Title: Strings of Love 
Artist:  Fabio Monesi 
Label: Craigie Knowes
Cat Number: CKNOWEP18
Genre: Techno

A1: Strings of Love
A2: Pancho Returns
B1: Flanger City
B2: The Raw Theory

Founder of Wilson Records Fabio Monesi debuts on Craigie Knowes with a four tracker, which sees him spread himself thinly like a polyvalent sonic veneer. There are shades of ‘Sweet Dreams’ in the title track’s riff, and with ‘Pancho Returns’ the vibe is definitely a retro one, shifting between arpeggiated italo fanfare and wistful melancholia. ‘Flanger City’ is a radical departure in style and intensity, relying on breaks and an undulating techno hoover to cause maximum damage, while ‘The Raw Theory’ is a Detroit-inflected jaunt into the fluctuating aural undergrowth. 

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Make Your Transition

One of my biggest regrets is not having learnt to play a musical instrument. I’m not dead yet, so I suppose there’s still time. However, I am very lazy and lacking motivation. What I can do though, is put records together in a coherent, imaginative sequence. I have been doing this for as long as I have been buying music, irrespective of genre; from the many random bedroom get togethers of my often misspent youth: starting with punk, but very quickly evolving into jazz, reggae, hip-hop, and everything in between, (these are but the planets around which many moons revolved), to my continuing fascination with the 4/4 beat, I like playing music. I have been the proud owner of a pair of 1210s since 1995. I have a huge amount of records, a collection that I am beginning to purposefully slim down; a situation triggered three years ago by a flood which wiped out up to 700 of them, as well as damaging untold sleeves and thus relieving a large quantity of their market value. 

This catastrophic event made me more vigilant and concise so, even though I still buy stuff, it’s not as often and in smaller quantities. I have about 300 releases that I want to get rid of, but have been procrastinating about putting them on Discogs for some time now, but it will get done. The biggest change to my sonic outlook though, is my so far theoretical purchase of a pair of CDJs. I still get sent a reasonable amount of music, all as files, and I don’t mix it. I stopped playing CDs a while back, even though I still have two players, because they’re a pain to burn, and they’re obsolete. Do any DJs still use them? In any case, USB CDJs are the way forward. I’ve been really interested in the creative aspect of DJing, not merely mixing tracks but looping, editing and affecting them. Turntables work up to an extent, and I’ll always use them, but CDJs are next level, and you don’t need to splash out on new units to house your collection; it’s all in the ether.

And it’s obvious that a lot of DJs who seem to squeeze impossible numbers of tracks into their sets are using this type of hardware. It’s nothing new as it’s been the same since laptops and Ableton, but their use seems to have declined while that of CDJs has increased. Listening to a lot of mixes nowadays, it’s impossible to understand how certain tunes a=make it into the mix. I’m a track list scholar, and even though would often like more information regarding content, I enjoy the challenge of hunting down music which lives in the shadows. However, I doubt the credibility of a lot of sets from the standpoint of doubting sonic participation. There are often too many different pieces of music present in a track list compared to what can be clearly discerned. It really must be the case that all too often mere fragments of tracks are grafted onto others, and then given equal billing by the DJ in question. It’s possible to do the same on a pair of turntables, but the dexterity involved to maintain a smooth flow is something else. I’m not talking about turntablism here, but beat matching and sequencing, and it’s undeniable that a lot of what passes for the putting every track and the kitchen sink in approach in order to sculpt a smooth, flawless set is nothing of the sort. Some of these tunes air kiss each other before fading away again. 

There’s a fine line between being considered a selector, and picking tracks merely to contribute a note or two to the overall sonic composition. I honestly couldn't care less regarding either approach. Each way is a means to an end with one having a more technical emphasis over the other. When it all comes together in the best possible way is when the two methods coalesce and blend, irrespective of the tools at the DJs’ disposal. I recently followed a Twitter thread in which, rightly or wrongly, the person who started the thread said this:

The more I hear mixes from ppl like Batu, Aurora Halal etc. it makes me feel like the future of mixing techno and related genres is very much with CDJs. The scope for creativity and intriguing blends is something that you just can't achieve in the same way with a pair of 1210s.”

This was quickly followed by 

There is an art to being able to make magic happen with just a pair of 1210s and provide coherent genre defying sets, but that can only come with decades of experience and collecting and even then you still need a brain like Eris Drew's to pull it off”

The names have been hidden to protect the innocent:

“Different flavors of the same hearty salad”

“Yeah I guess if we're looking at the turntablism of someone like Titonton there's things he does you genuinely couldn't do on CDJs. My post was more to do with the speed and ease at which you can create loops, tempo switch ups etc”

“Totally, also Titonton is one of the only people who makes CDJs look super fun and invigorating besides Omar and other people. I just think there’s levels of creativity that both still help birth within people that are important”

“Yep was just thinking the same today”

I think about this stuff ALL THE TIME!

“Mixing on CDJs is genuinely so boring”

“So is hearing tech house played seamlessly for 24 hours on a pair of technics”

“These aren't the only 2 options”

 “Was all doable for well over a decade on laptops and we all know what happened there. Ps, that Aurora Halal mix sounds very dope, no argument there”

“Doable but plugging in superfluous boxes + laptops made it phase out not what could be achieved with the software”

“I agree with u partially, in my opinion, the problem right now is that a pair of cdj 2000NX2 is not affordable for most of non-profesional djs. Back in the days, almost all had a pair of 1210s at home. So this fact makes u cannot train with cdjs regularly without public.”

“The concept is to buy one of theese Pioneer DJ controllers for home use.. it‘s a dilemma with the CDJs.. buying more vinyl again made me feel more comfortable with that”

To finish: I can’t help thinking back to a meeting I had with a certain Cambridge-based DJ back in the relatively early days of my ‘Machines Are Funky’ radio show on 209 Radio. I went to his house to collect a mix he’d prepared, and he was absolutely made up to give it to me because he’d managed to seamlessly blend more than twenty tracks together in exactly an hour. I constantly strive to do such things, not because I regard them as the pinnacle of perfection, but because I know I’ll feel great after having done so.

Reality Broadcast Off - James Ruskin (Blueprint)

Title: Reality Broadcast Off
Artist: James Ruskin
Label: Blueprint
Cat Number: BP054
Genre: Techno

1: Reality Broadcast Off
2: We Are Everywhere
3: Disaffection

The title track and, unsurprisingly given its name ‘We Are Everywhere’ are object lessons in insect menace. There are many ways to “do techno”, some of which can alienate those who are devoted to the others. I do like the stalking method though, as exemplified on the title track, and the chaotic invertebrate overload of the second: it’s the plague of locusts updated for the twenty first century. ‘Disaffection’ is all funky, squelchy percussion and bass intertwined. Layered loops of fury everywhere here. Which is nice. 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Shigeto EP - Shigeto (Vanity Press)

Title: Shigeto EP
Artist: Shigeto 
Label: Vanity Press
Cat Number: VPR 16
Genre: Breakbeats/Drama/Cosmic Be Bop

A1: Jetsettin
A2: Pusher
B1: Alley Oop
B2: New Course

Overall vibe, laid back . . . however, that would be too simplistic. There’s just so much going on here under a big jazzy bivouac. ‘Jetsettin’ is what Johm Barry would have sounded like had he been born thirty or forty years later. ‘Pusher’ contains lashings of Herbie Hancock . . . ‘Alley Oop’ is a raw percussive jam again with those soaring, James Bond strings, while ‘New Course’ is a relatively subdued handclap enveloped tropical stroll. An evocative, clever quartet indeed.

Obsidian - Weith (Brainwaves)

Title: Obsidian
Artist: Weith
Label: Brainwaves
Cat Number: BWS005
Genre: Breakbeat/Braindance/IDM/Acid/Electronica/Jungle

1: Coleric
2: Whatcha Lookin’ For
3: Proficiency Certified Branlee
4: How The Turntables
5: Douille de Verveine
6: Obsidian

A six pack of dexterous level chaos, and I mean in an organized way, otherwise how can it be accomplished? Breakbeats are the dominant motif here, but there’s all sorts going on around them. Sometimes they melt into drum and bass, sometimes not, but the hardcore continuum is pervasive here. I don't always go for this sort of stuff, but some of the noises here hit home. ‘Whatcha Lookin’ For’ has a lovely bottom heavy concave depth; ‘Proficiency Level Btanlee’ with its basic snares hits home because of its energy and the OTT dark rave backdrop; ‘Douille de Verveine’ is chilled but still fronts up, ‘Coleric’ has a great phased spoken word interlude, and ‘How the Turntables’ sounds like an interplanetary abattoir. All good then.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Autechre Warp Tapes 89-93

This is old news now, but if you didn't already know and you're here by accident, this might interest you.

Boards of Canada

Electro Music Union/Sinoesin/Xonox Works 1993-1994 - Electro Music Union/Sinoesin/Xonox (Cold Blow)

Title: Electro Music Union/Sinoesin/Xonox Works 1993-1994 
Artist: Electro Music Union/Sinoesin/Xonox 
Label: Cold Blow
Cat Number: BLOW 02/AVALP007
Genre: Electro, IDM, Ambient

Angels of Attitude (Part 1) – Sinoesin
Structures 1 – Electro Music Union
Transmission – Xonox
Structures 2 – Electro Music Union
Structures 3 – Electro Music Union
Descent – Electro Music Union
Structures 4 – Electro Music Union
Electroshock Mountain – Electro Music Union
Static Bodies – Sinoesin
Angels of Attitude (Part 2) – Sinoesin
Immortal Cities – Electro Music Union
Liquid Lover - Electro Music Union
Alternating Current – Xonox
Demiconductor – Sinoesin
S.E.I. – Sinoesin

Relics of a star which burned brightly during its short existence, and possibly this year’s electro holy grail reissue, after 2017’s ‘Scopex 98/00’; ‘Electro Music Union/Sinoesin/Xonox Works 1993-1994’ collects together a lot of what was released on UK label Metatone during the first half of the 1990s, as well as two tracks never available on vinyl before, and judging by this hefty collection, not before time. Of course it’s wrong to pigeonhole this release as solely electro, it covers a wide range of sonic structures, from ambient and trance to techno and electro. Overriding everything though, is a strong aura of IDM, (not a term I have much time for, but it’s short and snappy), which draws disparate strands of aural pleasure together and daubs a veneer of completely warranted sophistication over everything here. The use of analogue hardware cannot go unmentioned, manipulated as it is by Simon Adkins, the evil genius behind the lion’s share of this smorgasbord of elcronica. Personla faves include ‘Structures 4’, ‘Electroshock Mountain’ and ‘S.E.I.’ but there isn’t a bum note to gossip about here. Essential shizzle.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Chart: June 2019

UNTHANK012 – DJ Guy (Unthank)

Beautifully presented clear vinyl 12” with yet more tracks from Guy’s inexhaustible deadstock. Electronic vignettes which span various, random moments of electronic evolution that cater to everything in general, and nothing in particular.

The Lonely Machine – John Shima (Firescope)

Again, another wonderfully realised package, this time from John Shima, on the conceptually on point Firescope. Emotive analogue soundscapes which ooze a dawn of time ambience that is currently finding its niche once again amongst the heads. It’s also a sound which is distinctly British, with a long, sideways glance towards Detroit. Mixing reflective, beat-driven ambience with slow burning, stellar sonics is a winning combo.

Never Owned A 303 – Binary Digit (Seven Hills)

I first heard this on one of Jane Fitz’s Rinse FM shows; this six tracker has variety, depth and energy. I’ll play the faster stuff pitched down a little I think. The title track is a DJ Stingray mainstay in waiting.

Union EP – Bitstream (Vinyl Underground)

Worth it if only for the repress of the sought after ‘Monolith’, a low key anthem currently going for silly money on Discogs. ‘Double Destiny’ from the same release is also included, as well as two new tracks, ‘Union’ and ‘Apollo Blunt’, which give a harder, more gritty edge to the release. Lovely stuff.

Ghostride The Drift - Ghostride The Drift (XPQ?)

Abstract electronics, described as “smudge-ambient” by Boomkat, and “outer rim junkyard electro” by Rubadub (maybe not, but that’s where I first saw this couple of cut-up genre descriptions). This is a release which intrigues and puzzles in equal measure without getting out of second gear.

Fog FM – Anthony Naples (Ans)

Described by Naples “as a house music transmission . . .  from a station out of space and time”, this double pack is a mood setter and is aptly named, sounding as it does like a collection which is both sonically vague, but with embellishments of enough clever detail to allay any slide full on into the ether.

Uchusen EP – Janeret (YoY)

Janeret is a producer whose path I’ve been following for a while now, and it’s the two tracks on side 1 which show him in peak, lush, dreamy form. Those on side 2 are great as well, embellishing breaks on double levels of intensity.

Far Away From Everything – Jeremiah R (Voodoo Gold)

Voodoo Gold is a great label from The Netherlands which seems to specialize in putting out single disc mini albums. This is Jeremiah R’s second on the label, and precedes a third, which will come out in a month or two. As always this is top draw electronica with a kick. This has an electro foundation but not necessarily a superstructure.

Levant EP – Vern (Joule Imprint)

A label going from strength to strength with each passing release, this four tracker is made up of some deep, liquid, tranced out minimal techno and resembles Pure Science slowed down and aquatically inclined.

Fr-Dpx – E.R.P./Duplex (Frustrated Funk)

Essential double header which pairs label owner Ovatow’s “Reclock” of Duplex’s ‘Molecular’ with ‘Zrx’ by E.R.P. . There’s a nice contrast between the slowed down electro ambience of the former, and the more incisive, edgy sound of E.R.P.