Review: As hinted by the stark but bold cover art, Stockholm-based experimental composer Ellen Arkbro has adopted a more minimalist approach on her latest album for James Ginzburg's admirable Subtext label. "Chords" comprises two lengthy pieces, each of which stretches out alluringly across a side of vinyl. A-side "Chords For Organ" sets the tone, with Akbro making merry with unsettling sustained notes, foreboding electronic tones and droning electronic pulses. It's pretty challenging, but strangely alluring in a mind-altering kind of way. "Chords For Guitar" applies a similar approach to effects-laden guitar passages, with individual notes - processed to resemble odd electronic tones - sparring with slowly strummed chords over 17 mesmerizing minutes.
Review: 30 years after ditching the Humanoid alias in order to form Future Sound Of London with Garry Cobain, Brian Dougans has decided to resurrect his rave-era solo project. The result is "Built By Humanoid", a delightfully skittish, off-kilter album of raw, ragged and mind-altering cuts whose wayward, out-there electronics were partially created using two custom-built synthesizers that Dougans co-designed. The resultant album is breathlessly brilliant and magnificently mind-mangling, with the veteran producer conjuring up cuts that giddily join the dots between Aphex Twin's most intense moments, the acid-fired "Braindance" of Ceephax Acid Crew, the doom-laden ambient and IDM oddness of Future Sound Of London and the sweaty breakbeat rush of early UK hardcore.
Review: On his previous Konx-Om-Pax albums for Planet Mu, Tom Scholefield offered up a kaleidoscopic mixture of sweaty rave influences, colourful ambient melodies and abrasive, abstract sounds. On "Ways Of Seeing", his first album for three years, he's decided to flip the script, opting for a more optimistic, melodious and warmer sound that draws on a far wider range of influences. It's a switch that has paid dividends, with each successive track bringing a new sun-bright or morning-fresh blend of glistening electronics, tuneful lead lines, shuffling rhythms, leftfield pop hooks, deep space chords and humid aural textures. Yet for all the colouful electronic positivity, Scholefield still refuses to deliver unnecessarily polished tracks, instead opting for a thrillingly fuzzy finish fully in keeping with his experimental roots.