Review: If you're in the mood for a mind-altering collage inspired by "a typical day in Trump's America", you've come to the right place. Agnarkea's debut album, "Black Helicopters", brilliantly fuses spoken word snippets from Mid-West conspiracy theories with dystopian field recordings, unsettling ambient soundscapes, fuzz-fuelled analogue basslines, industrial noise and beats that draw on the Richmond, Virginia-based producer's past as a maker of experimental hip-hop beats. It's a brilliant piece of work, all told, full of intriguing individual tracks that come together to form one inspired, thought provoking narrative. Props should go to Natural Sciences boss Alex Hall for signing it and giving Agnarkea's work a wider audience.
Review: There's been a discernible degree of hype attached to Manchester's Natural Sciences label in the year or so it has been active, as its small clutch of 12" releases from Aleks and Aquarium have been warmly embraced by lovers of the lo-fi house sound. Antonio, aka the rather prolific Italian producer Antonio Barbetta who also moonlights as Raw Ambassador, is the latest Natural Sciences graduate and his Straight Realness 12" doesn't deviate too far from the rough and ready template that has served the label well. There are shades of Rezzett here, not least in the hazed emotion of "Raw Love" and the smeared junglist breakbeats of closing cut "Untitled D" whilst the two other cuts will fall kindly on the ears of those who like their 12"s filled with grot and tape dust.
Review: Mancunian lo-fi house heroes Natural Sciences are back with a bang in 2018: now giving us a second serving of throwback electro sounds courtesy of one Antonio Barbetta. He has had some great releases recently as Raw Ambassador on Mannequin and Ortloff. The Germany based Italian producer serves up what the label best described themselves as 'panzer funk and mechanised thrash metal from the shadows of Frankfurt's industrial district' and that's pretty spot on! There's the guttural futurist sludge of opening track "A Violent Collision" that will appeal to fans of Lux Rec or Return To Disorder, not to mention other excursions through heavy dystopian machine funk like on "Destroy This Fucking System". The breakneck "Adriatic Funk" is a full frontal assault that calls to mind the UK sounds of Bass Junkie & Dexorcist from a while back, while "Cyborg" is a fitting tribute to his new hometown's favourite son: the one and only Anthony Rother.
Review: Datawave is the project of Brussels based Gaetan Votion, who returns to Natural Sciences for the first time since 2017's "Submersion" - which was featured on their V/A Future Works Vol 3 compilation. Taking up where he left off last time, Votion explores the dark and dystopian realms of electro bass on this self-titled EP, taking the best of the genre's classic aesthetic, while delivering a stylish and contemporary edge. From the A side's introverted and futuristic thriller "Hidden Outpost", through to the high energy workout of "Stellar Wind" on the flip, this certainly proves to be one of the week's highlights in our electro releases.
Review: Manchester lo-fi house imprint Natural Sciences return with another release by Japanese producer Aquarium aka Deepspace. Following up last years brilliant Midnight At The Tokyo Central. These tributes to the early days of techno and acid house emanate through the static hum of vintage machines and the dense hiss of tape saturation on this romantically futuristic concept album which you could imagine playing while Blade Runner shows in the background. Or as the label best describe themselves as 'a hazy bygone recollection of biological matter as we sink into concrete, junk and mechanical S&M.'
Review: Hyped Barcelona DJ/producer and '90s U.S sitcom fan DJ Seinfeld is in the midst of a rich vein of form, with recent EPs on Lobster Fury and Endotherm only enhancing his rising reputation. This collection of analogue-rich, alien techno workouts on Natural Sciences is, predictably, also rather good. There's a pleasing looseness to the clattering drum machine hits, thrusting analogue bass, psychedelic electronics and cut-up vocal samples of "Vaping Lyf", while "Ruff Hysteria" sounds like late '80s Chicago deep house crossed with the fluttering, head-in-the-clouds innocence of early '90s ambient techno. On the flip you'll find the drowsy chords, hustling machine drums and wonky vocal samples of "Wombat Bounce" and the roughneck, hardcore style cut-up drum breaks and saucer-eyed chords of "What Kind of Sandwich Is This?"
Review: UK label Natural Sciences are back with more lo-fi house shenanigans for retroverts, this time courtesy of the mysterious DJ Swagger. Deep and emotive house of the breakbeat fulled variety on the self aggrandizing "Return Of The Swagger" while the early '90s techno of "Lituation" will appease the nostalgic on this homage to Canadian legends Ron Allen and Hayden Andre Brown. On the flip, "Peturn Of The Flip" has a familiar rap over the top of this melancholic and bittersweet jam that's given extra grit by those overdriven rhythm patterns and bumpin' groove.
Review: Although largely unknown outside of underground electro circles, Mark Kastner AKA Galaxian consistently serves up some of the most on-point experimental and club-focused electronic music around. It's a bold claim, for sure, but one that's backed up by the high quality tracks showcased on the Scottish producer's first EP for Natural Sciences. A-track "Golden Armageddon", for example, is a thrilling, nine-minute electro ride that brilliantly alternates between sweeping, cinematic style melodic movements and fizzing, acid-fired sections that are more intense than a late night beating from a far-right thug. Elsewhere, "Ride The Spiral" joins the dots between Drexciya, early UK bleep and weirdo IDM, while dystopian closing cut "Psychic Purification" is a Rephlex style "braindance" monster.
Review: Having built his reputation via a trio of must-check EPs on Bokeh Versions, Mars89 transfers to Alex Hall's "mutant electronics" imprint Natural Sciences. The producer is a neat fit on the imprint, with "2020" containing a quartet of creepy, hard-wired, industrial-tinged cuts that seem eerily fitting for these troubled times. He begins with the bone-rattling beats, machine-gun percussion hits, ricocheting metallic clonks and gut-punching bass of "GoodThing", before successfully fusing mutilated industrial sounds and paranoid rhythms on "JoyCamp". Over on side B, "DayOrder" is a strangely swung slab of mind-altering electronica that defies easy description, while "MiniLuv" is a thumping stomp through lo-fi techno territory in the company of a steroid-fired monster.
What U Thinkin (feat Freddie Dredd & Julien Andreas) (4:42)
Knick Knack (feat YVNCC) (6:40)
Like A Blunt (feat Freddie Dredd) (3:39)
Review: Mutant Joe has been lurking around low key tape releases over the past year or so, but now returns to Natural Sciences with a first outing on 12". This is nasty electro to get the place going freaky, not least on "Hokus Pokus" with some seriously saucy MCing from Freddie Dredd. "What U Thinkin" is a more twisted, acid-laced throwdown featuring Julien Andreas as well as a return stint from Dredd. "Knick Knack" takes things up to a footwork-jungle hybrid with guest duties filled in by YVNCC, before Dredd steps up one last time for the catchy machine funk pumper "Like A Blunt".
Review: Modern retroverts Natural Sciences return with some old school techno flavours courtesy of Jack Roland, who's back after a couple of terrific releases last year on UN.TO and Lonely Planet Recs. His new EP titled Control: Applications is a journey into a futuristic offworld environment, where his skillfully crafted electro beats provide wonderfully for its dystopian soundtrack. From the entrancing and suspense-filled opener "OST Contract"or the fierce electro-bass onslaught of "Nyke Club" - the A side has definitely got you sorted for the club side of things. It's on the flip however where Roland goes deeper into the void with two brooding and introverted cuts: particularly "Emotion" (CGI Feed) which goes deep down the alleys of the mind in the tradition of Carl Finlow or Anthony Rother.
Review: Sometime FTP contributor Sansibar is the latest experimentalist to make his bow on Natural Sciences, a label that we reckon is amongst the most vital and interesting around right now. The Finland-based producer starts in confident fashion on "White Swan", a pleasingly spacey chunk of electro/new wave fusion full of punchy beats, glacial electronics and industrial/EBM style male spoken vocals. The producer's EBM influences come further to the fore on the bubbly and mind-altering "Mandate My Ass", while "Nolla" sounds like an apocalyptic collaboration between Kraftwerk and Nitzer Ebb (with added Yorkshire bleeps). Arguably best of all, though, is the acid-flecked drug chug that is closing cut "Wallah (SANS DJ mix)".
Acid Bleach (feat Sylvester - I Live With My Mom edit) (4:32)
Review: Manchester mutant mob Natural Sciences are back with more nasty retroverted business, courtesy of Texan upstart Textasy. On the A side strap yourself in for a wild ride with the classic Detroit style electro -funk of "Illusions Of The Mind" until the furious acid techno onslaught of "Acid Bleach" (feat Sylvester - I Live With My Mom edit) throws you against the wall with pure force: some gnarly 303 business on this one! On the flip, the classic UK rave throwback sounds of "Pterodactyl" will make you feel like you're partying under a UK motorway circa 1990 loved up on MDMA.