Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Darkroom EP - James Shinra (Craigie Knowes)

Title: Darkroom EP
Artist: James Shinra 
Label: Craigie Knowes
Cat Number: CKNOWEP22
Genre: Electro

A1: Kord
A2: Gyorgy
B1: Gritti
B2: At The End Of The World

A veritable pot pourri of critical beats this. Cross pollination at its most effortless and incisive. With this release, James Shinra has made sure that Craigie Knowes in ending the year on a high, and in a year full of them that’s no mean feat. Electro is the dominant motif, but it’s by no means the only one. From the opening bars of the impressive, multitude containing ‘Kord’, through to the trance-inflected, surfing on glacial synapses of ‘At The End Of The World’, this EP brings together multiple sonic strands and manipulates them with a lightness of touch that can only be described as masterly. Breakbeats play a slightly subordinate, but no less important role throughout, and rise to the top on ‘Gyorgy’, while ‘Gritti’ further emphasizes the acid squelches of its predecessor. Play loud and make it, and music like it, more than an after dark experience.

Obscurium - Noumen (CPU)

Title: Obscurium 
Artist: Noumen 
Label: CPU
Cat Number: 01010010
Genre: IDM

1: Mist
2: Hydra
3: Call of Darkness
4: Haunter
5: Clinch
6: Lock
7: Square
8: Spleen Tear
9: Winter Sighs
10: Arclight
11: Tail
12: Fading
13: Slick
14: Flow Through the Surface

I know nothing about Noumen, so I’ll stick to the music. However, if ‘Mist’ is a taste of things to come then he’s bonkers. The backdrop reminds me of Cabaret Voltaire, or more specifically Richard H. Kirk. It’s ominous, hints at the environmentally degraded and is pervasive over the course of this work. The foreground is largely composed of a glitch-embroided soundscape, and again is a template which is sporadically returned to. The music shifts from the chaotic to the more coherent: ‘Arclight’ being a impressively funky example of how to do unorthodox sounding breakbeats over bittersweet swathes of machine melancholia. ‘Flow Through The Surface’ is the soundtrack to an imaginary helicopter flight to Spitzbergen, infinitely glacial. ‘Spleen Tear’ is breathtaking in its microscopic clarity and sounds like the soundtrack to a stalking seen from a hypothetical Hitchcock production in a parallel world. Of course I know a bit more about Noumen now, I’ve looked him up and he’s from The Ukraine. Does he have any mates who hang off bridges or other tall buildings? The schizophrenic music he makes suggests that he might, (and do the same himself). ‘Haunter’ is just over four minutes of portentousness, and would be soundtracking the cutting of the turkey at every Christmas dinner if I had my way. This majestic piece of work is the interior analogue of an exterior world; which one though?

Monday, November 18, 2019

Signs of Disarray - Intergalactic Gary (Midnight Shift)

Title: Signs of Disarray (Midnight Shift) 
Artist: Intergalactic Gary
Label: Midnight Shift
Cat Number: MNSX018
Genre: Techno

A1: Signs of Disarray
A2: Invisible Intruder
B1: Nickel From The Bumper
B2: Mystified

As someone who doesn’t produce much, Intergalactic Gary’s releases are eagerly anticipated. His last outing was in 2016 with Pasiphae so three years later what do we have? Well, it’s gratifying that he hasn’t gone too far out on a limb with this release. Each of the tracks here would fit nicely in one of his sets, and resist the overly experimental. That’s not to say there aren’t worlds contained within the grooves. ‘Signs of Disarray’ differs slightly from the other tunes in its skittish nature and cavernous production. I daresay it’s as big room a sound as Gary gets; having said that, the whole release has an expansive sound; due, no doubt, to the mixing and mastering courtesy of Redshape and Simon of the exchange respectively. The other three compositions are all slow burners, insistent in their capacity to grind out a result. ‘Invisible Intruder’ stands out for me. It’s cold war melancholia making me nostalgic for the good old days: Interail travel through central Europe when it cost £30 for four weeks. Both ‘Nickel From The Bumper’ and ‘Mystified’ let a pervasive ominousness rise and fall in tandem with each other; the latter having the air of a paranormal incantation for a parallel church.

Rebuild - Field of Dreams (Tici Taci)

Title: Rebuild 
Artist: Field of Dreams
Label: Tici Taci
Cat Number: tt057
Genre: Chug

1: Rebuild
2: Rebuild (Deconstructed Mix)
3: Rebuild (Radio Edit)

You’ve probably read about Tici Taci sound tracking A Love From Out of Space and Andrew Weatherall’s sets generally. Ergo, the “chug” is already in your head. Not a bad thing to have as a wormhole though, is it? However, it would be over simplifying the music to go with said stereotype, even though there contains more than a grain of truth. ‘Rebuild’ is classic acid house before anything else. Of course it’s got that frictional pace, essential for the lower back pain massive who find throwing shapes over 120bpm as injurious as an autumnal Sunday afternoon in the garden piling up the leaves. And it’s also got annals of pent up, drugged up groove knowledge, which is important because it provides an omnipresent underlay to all that goes on in its ecosystem. The deconstructed version is good because it sound completely wacked out and is obviously the work of the slightly deranged, which makes it pretty essential shizzle. 

Friday, November 15, 2019

Dosis Multiple - Pfirter (MindTrip)

Title: Dosis Multiple
Artist: Pfirter
Label: Mind Trip
Cat Number: MT25
Genre: Techno

A1: Faith Healer
A2: Dosis Multiple
B1: Mshrmsvndlprk
B2: Universal Constant
Digital Only: Mayo del 68

Pfirter releases an uncompromising four tracker on his own Mind Trip label which embodies everything that a certain strain of techno should be; it’s layered, texture upon texture, tone over drone, to produce a quartet of endless, unsympathetic sonic symphonies the likes of which you have to be in a certain frame of mind to benefit from. For example, the contender for Only Connect’s Missing Vowels Round, ‘Mshrmsvndlprk’ would be so unsympathetic to psychedelic ingestion that it’s bad trips all round I’m afraid. So administer with caution, and under optimum conditions.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Morgenrot Remixes - Die Wilde Jagd (Minimood)

Title: Morgenrot Remixes 
Artist: Die Wilde Jagd
Label: Minimood
Cat Number: minimood021
Genre: Techno

A1: Morgenrot (Fangschuss Version)
A2: Morgenrot (Vactrol Park Remix)
B1: Morgenrot (Ancient Methods Remix)
B2: Morgenrot (The KVB Remix)
C1: Morgenrot (Rude 66 Remix)
C2: Morgenrot (Roman Flugel Remix)
D1: Morgenrot (Luigi Tozzi Remix)
D2: Morgenrot (Steve Bug Remix)
E1: Morgenrot (CV313 Remix)
F1: Morgenrot (Variant Remix)

Packages like this are made for the casual purchase of digital wares. Unless the quality control is so high that nothing can be ignored or the variety is so wide. Minimood call this type of release “multidisciplinary fusion”, which I suppose is one way of marketing it. The original is a ponderous thing, but with ample scope for improvement. So, deploy the remixes! It really is a case of small margins with most of these; a cursory listen covers so much similar territory. Anyway, those that stand out for me, in order of preference are Roman Flugel, Ancient Methods, CV313 and Variant. Apparently it’s a vinyl only release. Which is nice.

Zero Point Access - A-Future (EON Records)

Title: Zero Point Access 
Artist: A-Future
Label: EON Records
Cat Number: EON002
Genre: Brealks/Electro

A1: No Era
B1: No Era (Alex Jann’s Planet Transmit Mix)
B2: No Era (Secret Universe’s Biosphere Mix)

Tracks that successfully blend electro and drum and bass are few and far between. Thankfully, ‘New Era’ comes correct to partially address the balance. The original is just that, an effortlessly funky piece of work with a dark side to its DNA. The same is true of Alex Jann’s ‘Planet Transmit Mix’, which emphasizes the electro and subdues the breaks. Conversely, Secret Universe’s ‘Biosphere Mix’ lets the other half dominate over a dreamscape of what sound like malfunctioning, wasted synths. All in all, a veritable hat trick of tunes, each of them showing off something slightly removed from the other.

Friday, November 08, 2019

Promises - Markus Suckut (Odd Even)

Title: Promises
Artist: Markus Suckut
Label: Odd Even
Cat Number: ODDEVEN026
Genre: Techno

A1: Promises
A2: Prism Pt. 1
B1: Backyard
B2: Prism Pt. 2

‘Promises’ bursts out of the blocks like a Mood ll Swing tune on steroids. Think of the backing beat to ‘Move Me’ with more muscle and the addition of an echo yelp. The two ‘Prism tracks offer similar levels of intensity but pitch themselves differently. ‘Pt.1’ being an acidic romp through a cold weather landscape, the synth flourishes contrasting nicely with the acid squelches. ‘Pt. 2’ is its percussive alter ego and a rougher cut overall. ‘Backyard’ feels like it borrows slightly from both ‘Pt. 2’ and ‘Promises’, being a bouncy, percussive number which relies on a muffled vocal snippet as a metronome. ‘Promises’ is probably the sharpest knife in the draw, while the other three tunes each bathe in a not unpleasing blurriness.

Lobster Is Coincidence - Mehmet Aslan (Planisphere Music)

Title: Lobster Is Coincidence
Artist: Mehmet Aslan
Label: Planisphere Music
Cat Number: PLANIS002
Genre: House

A1: Comme Il Faut
A2: Lobster Is Coincidence
B1: Kakusui

A diverse three tracker this: starting with the depth and breadth of ‘Comme Il Faut’ which is a deceptively uncomplicated, chugging effects-laden dubbed out disco damager. The type of track to get lost in order to gradually find yourself. ‘Lobster Is Coincidence’ is an abstract, fuzzy loop that is interrupted by a sample, the message of which could relate to the gradual loss of persona pervasive on the previous composition. ‘Kakusui’ is an Levantine-inflected romp through the cerebellum’s souk, whose secrets remain safe, but are open to interpretation.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Moving Away From The Pulsebeat: 1

Moving Away From The Pulsebeat: 1

 Paraworld – Ex Terrestrial (Temple)
 Trespassers – Newworldaquarium (Delsin)
 A1 – Brommage Dub (Svek)
 Affinity (RV800 Bmax Hyperbole Remix) – Sirko Mueller (Verdant Recordings)
 Mistic – Vern (Joule Imprint)
 Junkle ll - Callisto (Guidance)
 Horizon – Edward (Giegling)
 Midan – Mandar (Hakki)
 Event Horizon – Camelia (Rora)
 Lux (SAM Reshape) – Dust Yard (Berg Audio)
 Paper Moon – 51 Days (Touche)
 Circuit Rift – Junes (Galdoors)
 A2 Lapis Lazuli (Primitive)
 Jeer – Dewemer (Nous Klaer Audio)
 Want Some Candy – Dawl (Tribe)
 Cipher – The Hidden Figure (Exalt Records)

November 2019 Chart

Long Low Edmund – Dewemer (Nous Klaer Audio)

A label that I have long admired, but own nothing on. This double package has changed that though. There’s a trance-like sensibility active within this collection, but it’s inflected rather than full on. Mostly present in ‘Long Rice’ and ‘Jeer’, some of this could have found a home on Prologue a few years back. 

Hexafunk/Nightmoves #1 – Diode/Grumptronix (Wormhole Wisdom)

The first of three releases on Craigie knows offshoot Wormhole Wisdom, to feature the music of Grumptronix and Diode, (Omar Torres, one half of Grumptronix). The originals are rare as hen’s teeth Florida electro releases from the nineties: funky, deep and cosmic.

Streicher Des Todes – Strings Of Death (Vigram)

Teutonically - inflected electro from, amongst others, Dave Tarrida (Scotland is really on it at the moment. See Craigie Knowes). Dark, dense and with vocoders. Perfect.

Workshop 27 – Even Tuell (Workshop) 

Deep and off-kilter as only Workshop can be; this is label head Tuell’s first release on the label for six years, and it’s predictably great, while being quintessentially in context. Essential for bridging the gap between chin stroking and abstract shuffling. 

Heavy Hitter EP – Illektrolab (Advanced Robotics)

More electro, from the criminally unprolific Jason McCracken, aka Illektrolab. These are agitated, funky, edge of your seat beats for breakdancing cyborgs. I’m very much looking forward to combining this with the Vigram and Wormhole releases. Alien frequencies abound.

Tone Dropout Vol. 8 – V/A (Tone Dropout) 

Tone Dropout and Dawl are two buy on sight nouns. Everything that comes out bearing either of these two names is money well spent. Warehouse raves but with a claustrophobic twist and very much of the present, this is an essential package which squeezes in a huge variety of cross-pollination across its expansive grooves.

Hooked On Magic – Edward (Giegling)

One of two Edward releases to come out simultaneously on Giegling, this one features the mighty ‘Jap Collage’, one of many standout moments on Eli Verveine’s recent Trommel podcast. The rest isn’t too shabby either, being a mix of recognisable styles with an idiosyncratic approach to melody and beat forging. The other EP, ‘Lost In Paradise’ is also well worth grabbing.

Silhouettes – The Hidden Figure (Exalt Records)

A small (7”), but perfectly formed release of fragile electro about which not much is known except that it’s a side product of a “a very much established and well respected Acid / Electro producer.” Lovely stuff again. Keep ‘em comin’.

 Receptor Theory – Sirko Mueller/Jonno & Tommo (Verdant Recordings)

Jonno and Tommo sound like a right pair, don’t they? The types who sell loosies behind the bike sheds and lace them with oregano. I was attracted to this release by the remixers, Haventepe and, in particular RV800, a mysterious artist who released two essential double headers on Formula out of Japan. An understated release with gravitas. 

Friday, November 01, 2019

Rocco Remixes - HVOB [PIAS] Recordings

Title: Rocco Remixes 
Artist:  HVOB 
Label: [PIAS] Recordings
Cat Number: PIASR447RMXB
Genre: House

1: Bloom (Fink Remix)
2: Butter (Steffi Remix)
3: Butter (Floyd Lavine Remix)

A diverse remix package that spreads two remixes of ‘Butter’ and drops one of ‘Bloom’ from HVOB’s latest album. For me it’s all about Steffi’s remix, which is a beefy piece of electro that has plenty of depth and mood. I’m not feeling either of the other two versions though. If Fink’s remix of ‘Bloom’ were wispier, it would atomise and never solidify again. It’s fragile, and far too ethereal, if that were possible. The Floyd Lavine remix is an undeniable party starter, but maybe I’m just a miserable old git. It feels overproduced and lacks nuance. Each track will find its audience however.