Review: Formerly one half of acclaimed duo Footprintz, Clarian North has really come into his own since flying solo, with some terrific releases over the last few years on Turbo, Balance Music and of course Kompakt - Time Safari being his third release for the Cologne based institution in only a mere couple of years. The EP was said to be a two year long process, from recordings made in South Africa with collaborators Richard Marshall and Blane Venter along with many locals along the way. From the futuristic, electro-influenced groove of the title track, the hypnotic and enchanting tech house of "Ancient Cave" awashed in shimmering delightful melodies to epic closer "Early Life", it's a sublime journey from start to finish.
Review: Kompakt continues to reissue the early, in-demand works of hypnotic ambient techno pioneer Wolfgang Voigt AKA Gas. This time it's "Konigsforst", an album that has been unavailable on vinyl since its' initial pressing on Mille Plateaux in 1998. Built around locked-in, soft-focus techno rhythms, drowsy neo-classical movements, densely layered samples and hazy, hard-to-define melodic elements, the album's eight tracks remain as potent now as they did 21 years ago. Voigt has made a lot of inspired music in his thickset "sound soup" style, but there's something extra-special about this "Konigsforst", which we'd describe as the audio equivalent of a sunrise stumble through an ancient German forest.
Terrapin - "Cirrus Minor" (The Black Frame Extract) (3:18)
The Modernist - "Magic Lantern" (Velvet edit) (5:26)
Burger/Ink - "Memphisto" (5:11)
The Novotones - "The Gain Of Loss" (4:39)
Cologne Tape - "Welt 10" (Jorg Burger mix) (5:48)
Fantastic Twins - "Pilgrims" (6:30)
Rebolledo & The Novotones - "Mountain Eagle" (The Black Frame Desert mix) (6:27)
Paulor - "Arrival" (4:58)
XuXu Fang - "Noir State Beach" (The Modernist mix) (5:31)
Sascha Funke & Cosmo Vitelli - "Botzaris" (5:31)
Kenneth James Gibson - "Far From Home" (Superpitcher mix) (7:18)
Review: Designed as a kind of "anything-goes" alternative to Kompakt's "Ambient Pop" series, "Velvet Desert Music" was apparently inspired by the desire of its curator, Cologne stalwart Jorg Burger, to "create a distinct vibe and atmosphere". He certainly achieves that aim, offering up a mixture of previously unreleased tracks and mixes that evoke mental images of dusk-till-dawn road-trips across the American Midwest. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the lilting Americana of Terrapin's "Cirrus Minor (The Black Frame Extract)" and the trippy, delay-laden downtempo headiness of Burger/Ink's "Memphisto", to the menacing dark-pop of the Fantastic Twins, the country-tinged swamp funk of Rebolledo & The Novotones' "Mountain Eagle (The Black Frame Desert Mix)" and the exotic, faintly foreboding slo-mo electronica of Sascha Funke and Cosmo Vitelli's "Botzaris".
Review: Elina Shorokhova aka Soela is a multi-talented artist hailing from southern Russia who now calls Berlin her home. It is there where she continues to build her presence in the community through her live and DJ sets, alongside documenting the local scene and artists through her lens as a photographer. Following up an impressive run of releases on the likes of E-Beamz, Lost Palms and Australia's Red Ember, Shorokhova returns with four evocative tracks on the ever reliable Kompakt imprint. From the sensual breakbeat driven progressive house vibe of "Lily", soothing and sensual deep house for the late night on "Close Your Eyes" and the slinky and hypnotic tech hose of "White Becomes Black" - we have only seen the start of Shorokhova's blossoming and promising career.