Review: Geir Jensson's debut album under the now familiar Biosphere alias, Microgravity, has long been considered something of a classic of the early '90s ambient boom. First released in 1991, it offered an icy but suitably atmospheric mix of chilly ambience, British-style "intelligent techno" and crystalline IDM. To celebrate 25 years since it was recorded (it was released a year later, in 1991), Geir Jensson has re-mastered it and, with the help of a successful crowd-funding campaign, pressed it onto a double CD minus the cross-fades and sound effects featured on the original pressing. Happily, Microgravity has lost none of its allure.
Stay The Same (Blue Daisy Not Quite The Same remix)
Stay The Same (Mark Pritchard remix)
All In Forms (Letherette remix)
The Keeper (Banks remix)
Black Sands (Duke Dumont Grains Of Sand reconstruction edit - full length)
Eyesdown (feat Andreya Triana & DELS)
Review: Two years on from its initial release, Bonobo's much-loved Black Sands album got the remix treatment. While remix albums can be a bit hit and miss, Black Sands Remixed largely hits the spot - thanks in no small part to the A&R involvement of Eglo bossman Alexander Nut. The selection of remixers is open-minded and on-point, resulting in some near stunning interpretations. FaltyDL, Machinedrum and Cosmin TRG offer some decidedly floor-friendly rubs (the former's take on "All In Forms" delivering a great fusion of melancholic depth and skittering drums), while Arp101, Blue Daisy, Floating Points (in jazzwise mode) and fast rising youngster Lapalux turn in thrilling, sofa-friendly reworks.
Your Beautiful Look Is Looping Endlessly In My Head (4:48)
Review: Having done such wonderful work alongside Wolf Muller on The Sound Of Glades album, Cass makes a welcome return with an expansive album release on Emotional Response. The German producer's ambient tendencies blossom here, occasionally meeting with laconic drums as on "U" but primarily dealing in huge swathes of melody. DJs will want to hold out for the dramatic pulse of "Ann", where a more pronounced drum set makes for one of the album's most club-ready moments. There's a strong variety of tones and moods across Youth Sessions, from the strafing arpeggios of "Running" to the bliss-out shapeless swirl of "Prismatic Prolog", and this ensures that the album will not dull with repeated listens.
Review: Last year San Francisco label Dark Entries reissued School Daze, a collection of gay porn soundtracks by hi-NRG icon Patrick Cowley. It proved to be one of the year's best reissues, catapulting Dark Entries to wider attention and reinvigorating interest in the late Cowley's music. It's great news then that Dark Entries has elected to reissue more Cowley material, this time Catholic, the "lost opus" Cowley recorded in San Francisco between 1975 and 1977 with Jorge Socarras, vocalist from '80s American art punk band Indoor Life. Described by Dark Entries as a "genre bending concept album that ranges from minimalistic prototechno to synthdriven postpunk", Catholic is every bit as good as School Daze, and proof there's a lot more to Cowley than just his hi-NRG productions.
Review: D.A.L.I. is the new alias of UK legend Deadly Avenger aka Luke Insect aka the baddest British krautrock producer around. To mark the launch of his new moniker he's put out this new album by the name of When Haro Met Sally, a piece of work that evolves his trademark sounds into a blissful range of coldwaves and synthed-out drum-machine grooves. The album progresses in a dream-like state, going from the very loose and ethereal, such as on tunes like "Kuwahara Dreams", to something reminiscent of a 1980s film score - "Goodtimes In Badlands" standing out as a total winner among this extensive collection of summer burners. More than anything else, this LP is a perfect snapshot of a retro nostalgia that has won over dancers worldwide. Recommended!
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: Tim Hecker's music has a way of consistently confounding expectations thanks to his ever shifting nature, and Virgins is no exception. While 2011's Ravedeath 1972 felt weighed down by its sandblasted sound that brought to mind a ravaged landscape, and last year's Instrumental Tourist was filled with subtle Eastern influences, Virgins comes with a sound that feels somehow elegiac; opener "Prism" places cacophonous organs stretched to infinity, while "Radiance" is as close as Hecker will get to the sound of an angelic chorus. Other moments prove more introspective, such as "Live Room Out", and the sullen piano keys of "Black Refraction". It's an album with the same instantly timeless quality of Fennesz's Venice, and comes highly recommended.
Review: Bulgarian house wizard KINK is back and, of course, he's all about delivering the shadiest forms of dance floor music humanely possible. The man is a master at twisting and pushing house music to its very limits, something which is obvious from the start of "Soda Caustic", a nutty 4/4 banger boasting a curious new strain of acid at its core. "Synesthesia" barely even forms a groove out of its solitary bleeps and bass buds, whereas "Daddy Acid" takes a little poke at AFX's improbable mishmash of Goa trance and gabber junglism - we love this one. The B-side boasts "The Roots Of Techno", a kinetic array of machine noise and robotic beats, while "Antitune" makes some of Photek's early work seem antiquated by comparison. This EP has it all. Warmly recommended.
Review: Kerry Leimer, or simply known as K. Leimer, has been at the forefront of the West Coast ambient / drone game since the mid-'70s, and it's a good thing that Vinyl On Demand has decided to compile a comprehensive amount of his work, because the original material is hell to find in its original format. The Germans have put together a vast amount of his sound sculptures from the years 1977-1980, the formative period of his Palace Of Lights imprint. This is a wide-eyed journey into sound and subtle sonic shifts, a veritable excursion from start to finish, and although the mood is relatively placid throughout, you'll find many tracks that verge on lo-fi pop, and bittersweet psychedelia. We love it, and we think that anyone who doesn't know this guy should start indulging as soon as possible!
Review: If you've followed Mica Levi's work over the years as part of avant pop act Micachu & The Shapes, you'll know the London-based musician is a unique talent. It was apparent on their debut album Jewellery and has been demonstrated again and again (see the 2011 live LP Chopped & Screwed recorded with the London Sinfonietta for the most compelling example) Levi's work on the soundtrack for Under The Skin has rightly been praised, with her original score a crucial element of Jonathan Glazer's critically acclaimed Scarlett Johansson vehicle. Removed of the film and pressed on vinyl here, Levi's compositions sound all the more captivating in isolation and they should hopefully open all manner of interesting doors for the musician.
Review: Manni Dee might be best known for his upfront techno tackle on Perc Trax and the like, but he's also been quietly building up a separate identity as Nuances, and it's a world away from his dancefloor output. Following on from some choice album appearances on Bastakiya Tapes, it's up to Tabernacle to give the project its first outing on wax. While Tabernacle can have some range in their sound, this finds the label plunging wholeheartedly into ambient climes. Heavily processed textures and delicate chimes all feed into a truly evocative atmosphere loaded with significance. Ignore the familiar name behind the music - this is an album deserving attention all on its own.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Having worked with the likes of Don Cherry and Laurie Anderson, there's little doubting the credentials of Ramuntcho Matta. Emotional Rescue have tapped him up for some truly outernational jams that sport African percussion, skronky jazz tones and an engaging minimalism that's hard to resist. The fretless bass and exotic animal cries of "Ecoute" are especially appealing, while the squelchy sound design in "O Clapo" may well do funny things to all who hear it. It's a startlingly original record that serves as a perfect introduction to a lesser known figure in leftfield music with a great heritage behind him.
Review: Blundar is a label shrouded in mystery, although it seems aligned with artists like Lowtec and those orbiting crews like Smallville. The latest transmission on the dusty house imprint comes from STL, whose disheveled sounds is a natural fit for what has come before on Blundar. "Track 1" peers through a thick haze of smoke, exhaling pads and drones and keeping the bass pulsing throughout. The rest of the EP is given over to experimental and ambient tones, with the second track on Side B being an especially arresting piece loaded with melancholic contemplation. It's another strong addition to the Blundar repertoire, and another example of STL's skills and adaptability in the studio.
Review: Alan Vega and Martin Rev's Suicide project is no sideshow; the band have been a monumental part of the punk rock movement since the late 1970's, and they were coldwave before the term had even been coined. These dudes were kickin' back and gigging with Elvis Costello when they conceived Suicide, both their name and the title of their debut album, a total stroke of genius in just about every way. There's fuzzy, metallic drum machining on tracks like "Ghost Rider" and "Rocket USA" - proper warehouse gear - but the most striking moments come through the softer, more pensive songs like the absolutely sublime "Cheree". "Girl" is another jaw-braking ride across the grainiest of beats, but it's "Frankie Teardrop" that puts Suicide twenty years ahead of their time thanks to its rhythmic noise vibe that makes contemporary artists seem irrelevant. We can't recommend this enough - a total must.
Review: Trux' second EP on Berlin based record label Office is a bow to the many outstanding moments in the history of Ambient music. Allusions to Brian Eno are just as recognisable as to the charming concepts of Pop Ambient or Clicks & Cuts. It's between these poles that the four tracks on the a-side oscillate and manage to capture the listener with vibrant and diverse soundscapes. The flip side sees Trux drop a stunning melodic breakbeat tune besides remixes by Workshop's premier Techno chef Lowtec as well as a freestyle Electronica version by O$VMV$M. The much loved Super Quiet tops the record artwork off with another remarkable example of his casual and airy black and white photography.