Review: 10 Germany seem to get it bang-on each and every time! For a label who has released the likes of Ancient Methods, Perc and Matthew Herbert, among other legends, we'd expect nothing less than the spectacular and this is exactly what we got with this latest collaborative effort by Italy's Daniele Brusachetto, Jansky Noise, Human Larvae and Damaskin. Brusachetto's "Grigi Ma" is weird and wonderful pop tune set against a backdrop of cavernous percussion rattles, while Janksy Noise's "Black Night" is a full-on drone monster. Over on the flip, "Ruined" by Human Larvae is a fuzzy, noise-fuelled scorcher, and "Apocalypse" sees Damaskin produce the EP's only shred of rigidity thanks to its consistent 4/4 kick...accompanied by some rather gnarly power electronics, of course.
Patrick Cowley & Jorge Socarras - "You Laugh At My Face" (Tobias version) (7:15)
Half Hawaii - "Watch The Flash" (6:07)
Review: For the latest release on his quietly impressive Foom label, Ben Freeney has secured the rights to release two killer cuts, both of which are significant in their own way. On the A you'll find a previously unreleased Tobias Freund remix of "You Laugh at My Face", an obscure late '70s proto-new wave collaboration between legendary disco producer Patrick Cowley and art-punk vocalist Jorge Socarras (best known for being part of San Fran band Indoor Life). Freund's version is undulating and evocative, with spacey analogue synth motifs and drowsy vocals rising above a pitched-down breakbeat groove. On the flip, German duo Half Hawaii return to action after a six-year break, offering up a slow-burn delight rich in drowsy, melancholic motifs, shuffling drums and dewy-eyed vocals.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Gravity Graffiti has been doing great things with its series of split 12"s already, but now the Italian label goes one better for its tenth release with this mighty double pack of heavy hitters. First up is the ever-untouchable Yoshinori Hayashi, who gets as straight up as he possibly could with the freaky house burner "Dissociative." Telephones is feeling particularly dubbed out and groovy on "Kalimbalimbo", while DB.Source and Riccardo Schiro take things strung out and textural on "Montevago". Dynamo Dreesen is in rave mode for the pepped up and delightfully weird "Reactivate", leaving the final side to Oyvind Morken & Kaman Leung's chugging "Tunnel Visjon" and the rubbery side swipes of Acidboychair's "The End (At Any Speed)".
Review: Having launched in impressive fashion with a reissue of some Greek fire walking music that was complemented well by remixes from Pete Swanson and Vatican Shadow, a second release on the archival minded KEMAL arrives and it's just as good! The focus here is Skew-Whiff, the album inspired by the works of Mark Rothko that celebrated English drummer and experimental musician Charles Hayward released on the Belgian label Sub Rosa in 1990. Taking the title of Smell Of Metal, this second KEMAL release lifts two of the five compositions from Hayward's album and they come accompanied by remixes from Optimo's JD Twitch and Future Times captain Maxmillion Dunbar, with the latter a particularly inspired choice.
Review: Antonio Marini aka Healing Force Project is back with the Tranhumanism EP on Ambiwa. Starting out with the ever mysterious "Methodical Ear", it's more of the same later on "Sinapsi Sonora" which like the previously mentioned track sounds like the dusty and emotive deepness of early Sound Signature via the tough and rusty swing of fellow Italians Relative; a nice touch indeed. He then gives us the brooding and hypnotic "Shadow Manipulation Of The Mind" awash in delay drenched organs and skeletal vintage drum machine flair. But the fierce yet restrained functionalism of "State Of Induced Hibernation" with its near tribal moments supported by a series of exotic and mindbending drones is pure bliss. We'll say it again: Marini is undoubtedly one of the most underrated producers in techno at the moment!
Review: Former masked techno crusader Adam Rivet started the Kess Kill imprint a couple of years ago, to showcase some lesser known talents from the '80s scene in Europe. French producer Guy Clerbois began his musical career by transforming sounds: creating rhythms with scratched vinyl records and altering their playing speeds plus detuning his guitar. In collaboration with Guy Delhalle, he released a pop single in 1983. In the mid eighties, he began what would become the very concept of Vitor Hublot, making shifted reworks of existing ones. Nice N.D.W/ industrial in the tradition of Les Liaisons Dangereuses or D.A.F. All compositions originally issued on the '185 Millions De Francophones Et Moi, Et Moi, Et Moi...' LP via his own Psoria Discs in 1986.
Review: When he's not busy producing ear-shaking industrial techno or corrupted house bangers, Paris' Low Jack appears under his birth name, Philippe Hallais. While this is technically a debut under his real name, we've already gotten a taste of what the talented producer can offer beyond the dancefloor. This album, An American Hero, comes through on Andy Stott's sublime Modern Love and we feel that there couldn't be a better match on our charts this week. Although the large part of these tunes would scare most normal people off any dance piste, there is something unmistakably club-minded about it; the choice of sonics and atmospherics is most certainly on the experimental side of the spectrum, but there is a noticeable movement and pulse-like beat at its foundations. For instance, the likes of "Everything (Good)" or "Angela (Square)" burst out of the speakers with a mind-bending vortex of sounds that somehow find their own kinetic energy and pull you in to a subtle groove. Compared to most left field or ambient albums out there, Hallais has made sure to keep you locked and excited for the whole damn thing. Recommended. Warmly.
Review: After making sizable impressions with her initial EPs and King Felix side project, Laurel Halo's move to Hyperdub sees a stark debut album that positions her as a strong and unique voice among leftfield electronic producers. The most notable progression is in Halo's vocals, crystal clear in the mix while all around her ducks fervently from clarity. There's an incredible wall of sound feeling to the music she crafts, as bold layers of synths and treated samples blur into one another with a fuzzed-out psychedelia that whirls incessantly around in wistful fractals of melody. Through all of this, there's no forgetting who is behind the music as her powerful vocal delivery pins the wayward music down.
Review: To say that Lauren Halo's peculiar brand of organic-electronic fusion is "acclaimed" would be an understatement. Her 2012 debut LP, Quarantine, was named as The Wire's album of the year. Here, the Ann Arbor raised producer continues to dazzle with another off-kilter selection of curious compositions. Veering from tipsy, near ambient soundscapes (see the unruly "Serendip" and psychedelic "Melt") to clattering percussion jams ("Oneiroi"), via deep techno ("Chance of Rain") and blissful musical simplicity (the piano lament of "Out" and beatless tropical jazz of "Dr Echt"), Chance of Rain is every bit as enthralling, unusual and inspiring as its predecessor. That's high praise indeed.
Review: Laurel Halo is back, presenting her unique take on electronic music once again on her first full length since 2012's Quarantine on Hyperdub. Unlike her previous efforts there are no vocals on this album, marking a definite change in direction. There's undeniably a much dirtier analogue aesthetic smeared across the tracks of this album. "Situation" and "Drift" for instance are are tough UK bass influenced workouts with an attitude, while "Nebenwirkungen" and "Nah" take on a more claustrophobic and paranoid aesthetic, in all their freeform and self-liberating glory. Overall the album's withdrawn and at times uncompromising stance is what makes it so compelling.
Review: Given her stratospheric rise in recent years, it's something of a surprise to find Dust is Laurel Halo's first album since 2013. It's the Michigan native's third full-length excursion and was apparently recorded over a two-year period at the EMPAC performing arts centre in upstate New York. Interestingly, it's even more difficult to pigeonhole than her previous sets, with Halo and collaborators - including Lafawandah, Michael Salu, Maxmillion Dunbar and experimental percussionist Eli Keszler - gleefully fusing elements of wonky electronica, skewed R&B, drowsy synth-pop, neo-classical, humid Balearica, creepy jazz and off-kilter ambience. In other words, it's a hugely vibrant and entertaining set that's more than worthy of your hard-earned cash.
Review: The back catalogue of this mystical and mercurial German collective, numbering Messrs Moebius and Roedelius from Cluster as well as Neu's Michael Rother in their ranks. has always been frustrating only in its brevity, and with that in mind this live material from their heyday is as manna to krautrock enthusiasts - these at once meditative and exploratory voyages through inner space bear all the hallmarks that made their two studio efforts such evergreen portals to a fertile age of experimentation and inspiration, and an inspration to Eno and Bowie amongst a legion of others - Sehr kosmisch, indeed.