Review: Thomas Leer was mainly active in the late 70s and early 80s, dropping two singles on Cherry Red that provided the source material for the two original tracks on this Emotional Rescue reissue 12". Opener "Saving Grace" is a rich, bombastic blast of synthwave, all chugging arps and massive leads, while "Tight As A Drum" heads into more psychedelic territory, using strange gating techniques and deft FX to create a wondrous, shimmering bed for Leer's poetic chat over the top. Bringing an inventive angle to the release, the label signed Bullion up for two wonderfully warm, wobbly remixes. Honing in on the weirder qualities of Leer's work, these modern interpretations make a perfect bridge from the old to the new - highly recommended!
Review: De:tuned are in the midst of a 10 part anniversary series, and this latest missive - the seventh in all - brings together a hefty selection of talents old and new on heavyweight vinyl. Jonah Sharp opens things as Spacetime Continuum and continues to fuse ambient, techno, and IDM on the absorbing cosmic adventure that is "Only One Sky." Scanner's "Mothlit" slows things down with a hip hop instrumental from outer space, and then the beats disappear altogether on Ross 154's suspensory ambient cut "Earth To Our Friends." Lastly, Leo Anibaldi's "Crion" will make your skin tingle with its deft and delicate melodies which float about like fireflies and leave gorgeous, glowing trails in their wake.
Review: The Isla stable heads far out every time, but they're getting especially adventurous on this new missive from La Fe - a duo made up of Michael Red and Daniel Rincon (also known as Sounds and Ambien Baby respectively). There's a dense, ethnological tone to the percussion sources, with humid atmospherics sticking close to the drums throughout. Quite where the music is headed is unclear - somewhere out on the plains of the Fourth World no doubt - and the ambiguity is part of the charm.
Review: Musical (and real life) couple Local Suicide has been in fine form of late, delivering a series of solid collaborations with the likes of Curses, Franz Matthews and Theus Mago. Here they go solo once more via a first outing on Lumiere Noire. Title track "Leopard Gum" is dark, woozy and feverish, with the pair wrapping curiously off-kilter vocals, intoxicating electronics and ghostly chords around a slow, sparse, bass-heavy groove. It's given a throbbing, darkwave inspired makeover by regular studio buddies Smagghe & Cross, before Local Suicide serves up the clandestine and atmospheric new wave chug of "Already There". In typical fashion, synthesizer fetishist Phillip Lauer offers up an Italo-disco influenced interpretation that turns the track into a cheery chunk of Balearic disco goodness.
Neuzeitliche Bodenbelage & Sam Irl - "Faeden" (5:35)
Review: Earlier in the year, Fantastic Twins' Julienne Dessagne offered up the first volume in a new series of multi-artist EPs with a decidedly psychedelic electronic bent. Four months on, she's assembled another team of musical miscreants to deliver more audio "Microdosing". Oceanic kicks things off with the Steve Reich style melodic loops and gently pulsating electronic rhythms of "Parallel Lines Of Stripes", before Versatile Records founder Gilb'R dives deep into swirling ambient waters via the multi-speed oddness of "Cosmogonie". Over on side B, Lucas Croon fuses post-dubstep rhythms, skittish drum solos, twisted acid lines and intergalactic electronics on "Threshold Stimulus", while Neuzeitliche Bodenbelage and Sam Irl join forces for the kosmiche throb of "Faeden".
Review: As part of this year's Manchester International Festival, local legends New Order performed live in collaboration with NYC-based British artist Liam Gillick, who has previously presented solo exhibitions at venues such as Tate Britain and MoMA. It was orchestrated by composer-arranger Joe Duddell, a fellow son of Manchester and a frequent collaborator with the band. The live show was performed by the band with a 12 member synthesiser ensemble from the Royal Northern College of Music on 13th July 2017. This release includes the full show and encore plus 3 additional tracks recorded over the residency to give listeners a full representation of the breadth of material performed. Features timeless classics such as "Ultraviolence", "Shellshock" and "Bizarre Love Triangle" in addition to some Joy Division classics such as "Disorder" and "Heart & Soul".
Review: Christian Loffler has been producing pensive, cinematic electronic soundscapes for a long time now. 10 years since his first EP landed, the German producer presents his third studio album on his own Ki Records label. Once again Loffler has continued to grow through the album recording process, embracing more adventurous textural and sound design practices whilst also enriching his songwriting chops. The vocal turns from Josephine Philip and Mohna help deepen the seductive melancholy of his compositions, but even in its instrumental moments the pensive synth lines sing their own heartfelt messages. If you're a fan of Jon Hopkins, Nathan Fake and other such emotionally charged electronica artists, you won't want to miss this album.
Review: Since joining the label at the turn of the millennium, Scott Morgan AKA Loscil has become one of the admirably experimental imprint's most prolific artists. "Equivalents" is Morgan's ninth album for the label and sees him offer up eight meditations on a hazy, spaced-out theme. It's a slow-burn affair, where processed melodic elements, held-note chords and drone style aural textures slowly move across the sound space. It's a formula that guarantees goodness from start to finish, with the pulsing "Equivalent 3", ghostly "Equivalent 6", Mr Cloudy-esque "Equivalent 2" and the becalmed and poignant "Equivalent 8" standing out.
The Twenty Second Step As Well As The Tenth (5:06)
The Gates Made Plain (7:25)
Review: Back in 2014, RVNG Intl. released "Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Volume 1", a compilation of pioneering early 1980s electronic music by composer and producer Craig Leon. Five years on, they're finally releasing a follow up - and this time the music is brand spanking new. Leon, with assistance from vocalist Cassell Webb, recorded the showcased music between 2015 and 2018. It explores similar sonic territory to the artist's celebrated early work, offering up an atmospheric, synthesizer-driven fusion of ambient, modern classical, New York minimalism, Radio Workshop style electronic experimentalism and new age soundscapes. The set more than lives up to its grandiose title, offering up atmospheric, extra-terrestrial musical movements that sound like they've been beamed down from a galaxy far, far away.
Review: Back in 1981, London-based Anthony Waites decided to create some "poetic, subversive pop music" with borrowed synthesizers in friends' bedroom studios. The result was a sole, self-released seven-inch single under the Scenes De La Boheme alias, a record that has long been a cult item amongst collectors. "Standing In The Rain", his first ever album, includes those two tracks - the bubbly brilliance of "Zara" and the lo-fi, beat-free, guitar-driven shuffle of "The Tale Of The Butterfly" - alongside four others recorded in the same period. It's an impressively off-kilter and atmospheric set, with the early Human League style hum of "Leap Into The Void" and the icy shuffle of "A City Such As This" standing out.
Review: Leopoldo Rosa AKA Lerosa has been fighting against lazy categorization for years, offering up tracks that go way beyond the deep house sound he cultivated in the early years of his career. Those who still think he makes records like that should definitely check "Bucket Of Eggs", his long-awaited second album, because it's far more thrillingly wayward, off-kilter and alien-sounding than anything he's released before. It's rooted in house music - and twisted acid house, in particular - but also doffs a cap towards Rephlex style mutant electronica, turn-of-the-90s Bleep and Bass (the superbly weighty and spacey "Sheffield"), skewed electro ("Subterfuge") and even deep space electronica (killer closing cut "Don't Worry"). In a word: essential.
Review: Lifted's off-kilter ambient electronics were rightly praised by critics when the improvisation-loving trio (who can count Andrew Field-Pickering AKA Max D amongst their number) released their debut album back in 2015. It's likely that this impressive follow-up will be similarly lauded. "2" offers up tracks that mix languid ambient motifs and pleasingly skewed melodies with jazzy, off-kilter drum machine percussion, unsettling free-jazz sax solos, starburst electronics and bizarre but brilliant blasts of instrumental eccentricity. At times, it's deliciously challenging, at others blissfully brilliant. On rare occasions - as on standouts such as "Rose 31", "Blackpepper" and "Total Cure" - it's both of those things at the same time.
Review: Veteran Toronto-based producer Gregory de Rocher's career spans over 20 years, where he has released on the likes of City Centre Offices, Ersatz Audio and his own Suction Records - which he co-founded in 1997 with like-minded producer Jason Amm (aka Solvent). They present a collection of salvaged tape recordings from 1996 under de Rocher's lesser known Pest(e) moniker. A fascinating assortment of analogue electronics originally intended as a demo, it was at one point almost released on seminal UK label Skam but de Rocher ended up releasing it himself under the Lowfish alias - this being his debut album under the moniker. He uses broad strokes to paint a picture across the various tracks: from the jungle reductions of "Sieve", cosmic electro of "Agamemnon", to the evocative IDM trip of "Polychromerats" and hypnotic drone piece "Lungs Of The Clock".