Review: As Warp gears up to celebrate its 30th birthday, it seems fitting that the label should be putting out a fresh album from one of its longest serving artists. As Plaid, Andy Turner and Ed Handley played a significant role in defining the label's approach to electronic music during the "Artificial Intelligence" era in the mid 1990s. All these years on, they're still capable of crafting fizzing, melodious, off-kilter electronic listening music that defies lazy categorization. "Polymer" is a hugely enjoyable and entertaining set, with highlights including the jumpy beats, post-electro melodies and mind-altering acid lines of "Los", the metallic bounce of "Maru" - a kind of twisted take on Afro-tech that's amongst their most club-ready cuts of recent times - and the disturbed, Autechre-style clang of "Recall".
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.
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.