Review: Fernando Zapico AKA Z@p is one of those producers whose work is always worth a listen, primarily because his quality threshold is very high. This two-track missive on My Own Jupiter picks up where his recent EP for Japanese imprint Cabaret left off, delivering faintly foreboding futurist techno whose sci-fi inspirations are clear to hear. A-side "Brutalismo" sets the tone, with paranoia-inducing analogue bass, creepy synth stabs and swirling electronic textures rising above a punchy drum machine-driven groove. "We Control The Sound" is notably denser and a little darker, with sturdier beats, moodier chord sequences and a bone-chilling breakdown.
Pimping People In High Places (Woodword Ave alternative mix) (6:50)
The Medusa Touch (6:52)
Review: Gary Martin is well known for his unique productions and his label Teknotika is surely a classic coming out of the famous motor city. This special 10" holds two sought after tracks that were found on a lost DAT tape by Yossi Amoyal and Gary Martin himself. On the A side we have a long time secret weapon, it's a hypnotic groove that was heard on many classic sets, Zip and Ben Klock to name a few. An extremely insane, hard to find Gigi Galaxy track that was changing hands for silly prices is on the B side, for those who know... massive release!
I Have Been Waiting For You (DJ Duckcomb Digimix) (7:19)
Review: Emotional Rescue serve up a balmy curveball cut perfect for the summer months. Glen Ricks "I've Been Waiting For You" was originally released back in 1983 on the highly collectible Seraff label and recently reissued by the label (ERC081). Here, as an accompanying release to that boogie version is a 1990 digital rework for the Xterminator label. With a distinctive swung riddim and smoothly incorporated dubbed out chords, Ricks' vocal channels the most soulful Jamaican deliveries, sealing the deal on this evergreen jam that sounds great in original and version forms. DJ Duckcomb steps up with a tender "Digimix" that retains the dusty crunch of the original with just a little extra bite in the beats.
Review: Italian artist Paul Santangelo has been having fun messing with the sometimes po-faced traditions of the house music scene through a raft of home made productions on SoundCloud, but now with his Venetian Causeway label he's able to prove the clout to be found in his music. On this 10" the arch title "Generic House Traxx" actually does a disservice to the quality of the music contained within - Santangelo does a fine job of whipping up monosynth bass and ethereal pads astride an uptempo beat that, while familiar, has an atmosphere with considerable depth to it. "Please Him" on the B side goes further out on a mellow electro tip, plaintive leads and aqueous chords flirting with 808-style beats.
Review: Finally. More presses of the killer 002 from Run Outs land and it's every bit as chilling as it was when they first teased us with it. "Unstable" is a meditative shimmering brew, unhurried and pace-setting while "Monolith" flips the vibe for something a little more warped and weird. Linking with mysterious producer Gisaza, they add a grumbling bassline, creepy arpeggios and sudden switches under a hazy cosmic sheen. Powerful stuff. You'd be wise to snap up on this before they Run Out again (not sorry).
Review: Back in 2016, legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen approached techno pioneer Jeff Mills with the idea of working together. A series of live gigs and off-the-radar studio sessions followed, with the first fruits of their joint efforts finally appearing on this must-have 10". As you'd expect, the duo's collaborative work combines Allen's traditional Nigerian polyrhythms, traditional Afrobeat instrumentation, and the far-sighted, sci-fi inspired electronic futurism that has always marked out Mills' work. The result is a quartet of cuts that could arguably be described as retro-futurist Afro-tech - all delay-laden beats, basslines and organs subtly sparring with gentle acid lines, Motor City electronics, beguiling deep space textures and shimmering, 31st century motifs. It's arguably Allen's stylistic contributions that dominate, but that's no bad thing.
Review: Russian enfant terrible Pavel Milyakov aka Buttechno appears next on Gost Zvuk: an imprint dedicated exclusively to the Russian and ex-USSR scene and only releasing music of producers from these regions. The label's seventh release (known elsewhere as 'Swamp Tracks') showcases the diverse array of Milyakov's sonic repertoire, that has seen his release on labels as diverse as Cititrax, Incienso and Zodiac 44. The fierce sonar transmission of "Project Loop 1" or "Subsonic II" will no doubt bear comparisons to Berlin legend Sleeparchive, but still hold their own. Milyakov is really in his element when delving deep into electro mutations as heard on "Industrial Acid" or the tripped-out minimal techno cut (and our favorite) "2x Clouds".
Review: Prepare to fire! Skeppy's got a brand new cut and he's and everyone's allowed a cheeky buzz on it. Yes it's finally time to get your grubby paws on the long-awaited "Musket". One of the Exit Records artists' most divisive of tunes, unlike his darker deeper tackle it's a jaunty, spiky jump-up tune. Addictive, fun to mix and guaranteed to get the crowd all wound up, this has all the hallmarks of a festival D&B anthem this summer. Grab it while you can.
Review: Minuendo calls upon Vincent Inc and Danijel Kevic to kick off their latest single, and they do so in fine style with the luxurious sweeping chords of "Space". Twinkling pianos, speech samples and a carefully measured set of deep house drums make this the consummate slice of pool-side dance music for those who can still find some sun at this time of year. Lola Allen steps up to the B side with something a little more sassy in the shape of "Afrofusion Jazz". As the title might suggest, there's a mixture of influences tumbling into this track, most notably with some wildly filtered jazz organ and funk licks stewing in the pot, and just when you think it's going to break it swerves off into submerged Moodymann territory. This is unpredictable house music at its finest.
Review: Leipzig's finest M Ono and Luveless are back on Houston via Detroit's Kolour with volume three of their new limited 10" series. Starting out with the deeply uplifting soulfulness of "Never Gonna Leave You 2K16" they are then into "Losing Memory" on the flip which gets more reduced, dubby and emotive, giving a nod to the kind of loopy deepness as heard on labels like Office or Slices Of Life. There really is something in the water out in Leipzig at the moment, great stuff!
Review: Detroit/Houston based Kolour have had some pretty credible names feature on their new 10 inch series this year, such as Eddic C, Napoleon, Frank Booker and Lady Blacktronika. Now it is over to the Belarus based disco DJ Funkyjaws who serves up two irresistible jams on Vol 8 of the series. On the A side, we have the soulful and life affirming African boogie of "Them & Us". We have not heard the original but it sounds pretty seamless to us: a respectful edit indeed. On the flip, we have one seriously mad boogie-down jam in the form of "Peasant Dance" which is a truly exotic affair from god knows where! Accordions, wah-wah guitar and some super string arrangements clash wonderfully. This may sound like an unholy mixture but this is exactly the kind of disco deviance that truly floats our boat! The Grodno based producer last appeared for the label on Kolour LTD 22 a couple of years back, and in the meantime has also appeared for the likes of Shadeleaf Music and Austrian imprint Pusic.
Review: Bruno E has plenty of history in the field of future jazz and downtempo, and now he's been snapped up by D3 to deliver some of that cold-chilling lounge business with some interesting remixers on board. Pat Van Dyke is up first, creating a blissful version of "Ventos De Outono" that feels as cosy as a warm fire and a glass of whisky on an autumn evening. The original version of the track is actually a peppier affair with a broken beat lilt that wouldn't sound out of place alongside the Dego and Kaidi Tatham crew. Kirk Degiorgio is a natural fit for another remix given his jazzy roots, and his swirling techno treatment is the perfection lotion to pour over Bruno E's excellent original ingredients.
Review: Barefoot Beats is a series of EPs released on Mareh Music, a record label based in Sao Paulo whose people are also the curators of the Mareh music festival in Boipeba - a remote island in Bahia. For their label's ninth edition, Rio de Janeiro's Joutro Mundo (Midnight Riot/Outra) delivers an edit of a lovely neon-lit boogie down number on "Revele", while on the flip the man from New York City Jkriv (Razor-N-Tape) gets a deep, soulful and life-affirming number into the mix with "Povo De Zambi".
Review: Spanish sound sorcerer Santana steps over to Porn Wax for a highly limited marble vinyl 10". "Disco Panorama" stomps with a beautifully sedate groove as clouds of synths cast a subtle spell over the beats. "Magic Words", meanwhile, is a more stripped back affair where the emphasis is focused squarely on the big lolloping bassline and a series of emotional chords ebb and flow over the top. Genuinely stunning. And with a guarantee of no digital and no represses, this really can't be missed!
Review: "Is the Cornuta Sound's return after a long resting time. This new 10" contains one of the most saved songs by Above Smoke (Deep Explorer) that runs into the jazz world and an outro take for djs. The flipside brings a great rework by the label boss (W&P Hgg)."
Review: Dropping a searing double pack of 10" badness ahead of the forthcoming Angels & Devils album, The Bug is back in business with some apocalyptic gutter bass of the highest order. "Freakshow" matches the leering delivery of Danny Brown with the sinister croon of King Midas Sound's Kiki Hitomi over a horn-laden trap swagger to devastating effect. "Louder" pits Flowdan in the depths of a nauseating half-step march, while "Dirty" takes the London MC into a barrage of equally nerve-jangling drum rattles and alarm-clanging stabs. Long-time Bug collaborator Daddy Freddy rolls up his sleeves for "Kill Them", anchoring the dread stomp with a fearsome growl as anthemic as it is nihilistic.
Review: Hot on the heels of "Mission" earlier this year, Shuya Okino's Kyoto Jazz Sextet troupe present another gem from last year's Unity album complete with a remix of the highest calibre. This time the cascading, Latin rhythm and frenetic horn leads of "Rising" are given the midas dancefloor touch by none other than Ron Trent. Maintaining the wily spirit of the original while coating in warm organ blasts and subtly bumping kicks, it's a precision translation that brings the original into a whole new context.
Review: A limited yellow vinyl funk odyssey from Record Store Day, "I Get Lifted" is taken from KC & The Sunshine Band's second album (1975) Still sounding shiny and floor-minded, the original stands the test of time incredibly well. Todd Terje's edit, however, takes it to another level; upping the tempo (and, possibly, the key), he's extended the right places, added a little more emphasis on the kicks and made sure we can't miss the breakdowns and instrumental sections.
Review: Launched over the summer, the Rasta Vibez label looks to bridge the gap between drum and bass and classic dub and reggae that has grown somewhat since the heyday of Jungle. If you were swayed by the distinct charms of the debut drop Jungle On Broadway, it's highly likely you will be compelled to check out this second 12". There's no complex science to either "Ice Cream Sound" or "World A Jungle Music" just a well executed take on a formula that has worked perfectly well many times over; delay and fx meet classic dub strains and jungle rhythms uptown
Review: With two releases already under their belt, the quintessential anonymous producer Crue is back with another exercise in dynamic analogue house and techno. "Track 1" is a steady 90s house workout, rich with warm chord stabs and a punchy beat, primed for slotting in amongst other garage shuffle revivalists. "Track 2" is where things get spicy with the primal, Detroit-weighted clatter of the drums falling in an almost-breakbeat, and the melodic stabs zipping in overhead. It's a staggeringly fresh sounding track, even whilst using methods of the past. Whoever they might be, Crue is clearly in command of some serious kit and a keen ear for what works,
Review: Maya's "Lait De Coco", a deliciously glassy-eyed chunk of mid-'80s Gallic pop with a decidedly Balearic bent, has recently undergone something of a revival is serious selector circles. Since copies of original 1987 7" copies have been known to change hands for eye-watering sums online, Attic Salt Discs has done the decent thing and offered up this tasty 10" reissue. Particularly alluring is the flipside Dub, which in true '80s instrumental style flits between spine-tingling ambient passages, delay-laden vocal selections, twinkling piano motifs and an even more glassy-eyed take on the warm and loved-up backing track. That said, the sax-laden A-side vocal version, the epitome of soft-focus European synth-pop goodness from the period, is also superb.
Jason Fine - "Puttin It Out" (A Made Up Sound remix)
Jason Fine - "Human Need" (Heinrich Mueller Celestial Sphere mix)
Review: Repress: As one of the younger breed of Detroit talents, Jason Fine is still just starting to get a foothold, despite having a good few years of releases behind him. His Kontra Musik relationship has proven to be the most fruitful, and this remix package capitalises on that with two top shelf commissions. A Made Up Sound brings his unmistakable broken house swing to bear, with warming subs and thick swathes of pad and melody twisted to Dave Huismann's crafty designs. Heinrich Muller brings the Drexciyan vibes in abundance with his punchy electro stance that remains peerless after all these years.
Review: AKO welcome long-timer Madcap. Oxford-based and on the scene for a good 20 years, he's been slowly building up a powerful arsenal on the likes of Good Looking, Soul Deep, Fokuz and many more for the last 10+ years. With the backing of Stretch, on his fast-developing 10" label AKO 10, this is one of the biggest moves yet. "Out Of Reach" is big and breezy deep jungle, loaded with space for the pianos to smoulder and the echoed vocals to waft majestically in and out of the mix. Flip for "Sunshine Dub" where you'll feel you've heard it all before... In the best possible way. Don't sleep on this one, it's a cheeky one.
Review: Plevna (an alias of Horatiu Serbanescu, long-time contriver at Future Nuggets and co-founder of Steaua de Mare) presents its first full EP.
After incubating for almost 2 years while extracting and forging gems in the south-east space-time anomalies, the untraceable sound of Plevna has reached the optimum balance between eighties delicate nostalgia and contemporary local oriental melody. Bouncing on the delightfully twisted 9/8 groove, this is a unique contact with a multiverse under meticulous construction, an excursion abundant in haunting tunes and unfamiliar melancholy.
Review: Oh gosh. Scratcha's up to his old head-spinning tricks again on this super limited 10" white label. His remix of "Basstone" takes the lead. A cult 1994 Louie Vega classic, DVA's twist is unlike anything you've ever heard; all sirens and frequencies and bashy clattering beats over uplifting chords, it's both overwhelmingly heavy and absurdly soulful in equal measures and it will totally melt brains this festival season. Comes complete with two deep and fractured perspectives from the mysterious/anonymous/perhaps-new-alias Singlewhitefemale; the shadowy fractured "Dub" and the woozy dreamweaver "Secret Garden". All stunning... Grab this while you can.
Review: Brooklyn label Razor-N-Tape get in on the Record Store Day action with this 10" edition of Beatin Tha Breaks from Nashville-based Magic In Threes. It's the remixes that come first, with Dutch artist Fouk going into similar house territory to Kenny Dope with plenty of live instrumental touches blessing the bristling percussion. It's a totally different vibe on the Freddie Joachem remix, with the Californian opting for some midtempo funk breaks that stay closer to the sound of Magic In Threes' original version . This closes out the RSD release on the B-side and is an easy-breezy affair dripping with soulful guitars and harmonies.
Review: Original Chicago deep house producer Vincent Floyd has enjoyed something of a career renaissance since the release of Moonlight Fantasy, a collection of previously unheard 1990s productions, on Rush Hour in 2014. Here the Dutch label dips into his vaults again and unearths another gem from the late 1990s. "Hard to Love" is every bit as warm, rich and loved-up as you'd expect, with Floyd providing a yearning, soul-fired vocal to accompany his rich Windy City grooves and cascading synthesizer melodies. On the flip you'll find a fabulous instrumental version that closely mirrors the vocal take. That it stands up on its own without the headline vocal is testament to Floyd's impeccable composition and production skills.
Review: Woof! Hyperdub bring together two of the most recognisable and enigmatic artists of recent times on this 10", as Zomby and Burial square down ahead of the former's new album for the label. Zomby's Ultra LP is undoubtedly one of this year's most anticipated albums and "Sweetz" suggests it may be a very moody affair indeed. Whilst rooted in UK dance, Zomby and Burial do look elsewhere for inspiration too. Just under seven minutes long, "Sweetz" veers through various sub-heavy soundscapes with intermittent rhythmic patters and a distinctive looped vocal sample whose pitch changes with dramatic effect.
Review: This is Adam Wickens' - aka ADMIN - first appearance for Kolour LTD, and we're happy to see the UK deep house producer continuing his steady path to maturity. This two-tracker is part of the label's 'LTD 10s' series, and this particular one is the fourth instalment; we love it not only for the quality that has graced the releases up till now, but also because we're fools for the ten inch format. "Reach For Love" sounds like it could be on Moodymann's Mahogani, a sensual house charmer complete with gorgeous piano keys and assembled with pure hypnotic delight. Side B's "You've Got Me" is similarly cool and laid-back, but the beat is speedier here, the percussion more floor-centric and the vocals sexier than ever. What a gorgeous little tip - cop it!
Review: Italojohnson has clearly decided that less is more, having limited their output to one self-released 12" a year since 2013. Volume 10 in the mysterious threesome's self-titled series predictably contains more twisted, tried-and-tested material. The untitled A-side sounds like a modern update of a breakbeat-boasting Frankie Bones classic, with hectic bursts of percussion, surging sub and a classic riff taking it in turns to impress. There's more of an acid house feel to the similarly untitled flipside workout, with booming, mangled vocal snippets and sharp electronic stabs riding a thunderous groove, '80s electro hits and a classic Chicago bassline. There's little subtle about either track, but they sound like guaranteed floorfillers.
Review: Stag O Lee's continuing Music From Planet Earth series is arguably the audio equivalent of a silly, space-themed 1950s B-movie. While the series' tongue-in-cheek eccentricity and kitsch celebration of vintage futurism is rather more knowing than your average B-movie, its every bit as entertaining and gleefully lo-fi. Happily, this third instalment is every bit as delicious as its' predecessors, presenting a bizarre but hugely entertaining mixture of '50s rhythm and blues, vintage easy listening, early experimental electronica, outer-space jazz, bonkers lounge music and, in the case of closer "Marty on Planet Mars", a cut-and-paste collage featuring all manner of retro musical treats.
Review: Coco & The Ghost: sounds like a 80s cartoon, actually it's the project from broken beat polymath that Sonar's Ghost, Myor bossman and all-round Dutch jungle devil Coco Bryce. Both sides are as hot as each other; "Turn It Out" is pure sample joy with a dizzying breakbeat pay-off on the second drop while "Trillion Shekel Man" shakes its rump to some nicely shuffled loose rolling breaks, cheeky emcee samples and ice cold pads. What a pairing; this sums up where we're at with jungle right now, in the right hands.
Review: For the latest single on Umwelt's essential Rave or Die label, the Lyon-based producer finds himself sharing vinyl space with Perc Trax regular Ansome. The South London producer handles side A, assaulting the senses via distorted breakbeats, chilling, held-note horror strings and gory electronic riffs on the industrial techno insanity of "Vakuum". Umwelt's track, "Affres", explores similar sonic territory, though his use of macabre audio loops, redlined electronics and rapid-fire, ray gun drumbeats gives the track a much more rolling and hypnotic feel. Both cuts are wild-eyed and aggressive in tone, even if they are every bit as sci-fi as classic Detroit cuts.
Review: Having soared us through the dense black marsh earlier this year, Portuguese deepsmith 3WA takes us through even swampier, intense territories with this Crucial debut. "Viagem" is like stepping into a deep boggy cave where the drips from the stalactites get heavier and the ground swallows you like quicksand. "Encanto" then hauls your keister out of there with insistent hang drum percussion and rolling kicks before blowing you dry with powerful flutes and pipes. Charmed.
Review: The second collectible EP out of three, arriving on double white 10" vinyl, and containing tracks from Jon Convex's debut album, Idoru sees another four hard hitting fusions of techno and contemporary bass music. Unlike the first EP, which was surprisingly melodic, these tracks aim squarely at the floor, with "What I Need" a heavy tom-led piece of Detroit influenced techno, and "Aversion" providing some tracky functionalism. "Desolation" and "Four Faces" meanwhile provide some bleak electro dystopianism, much indebted to his Autonomic heritage.
Review: It's been a fair old while since we last heard from Tropical Jam, the sneaky re-edit imprint from Vakula and Aussie crate digger Daniel Lupica. Surprisingly, this is the duo's first 10-inch missive of humid, floor-friendly revisions since the summer of 2018. They begin in a suitably sunny mood, offering up an on-point rearrangement of a cheery, sax-laden Afro-synth workout that sounds like it originated in the early 1980s. The A-side also boasts a second bubbly synth workout, possibly of a South African cut from the same period, where jaunty Clavinet lines and male/female vocals rise above a sparse but funky groove. Side B, meanwhile, contains a more Balearic-minded electronic cut rich in lo-fi drum machine beats, dreamy chords, chiming lead lines and glassy-eyed vocal snippets.
What's Going On (original mono single version) (3:57)
God Is Love (original mono single version) (2:48)
What's Going On (feat BJ The Chicago Kid) (5:03)
What's Going On (Coffeehouse Mix) (3:59)
Review: One of the most important and influential records in both Marvin and Motown's history, "What's Going On" celebrates 45 years with a revisit that includes some of the oldest mono versions of "What's Going On" and "God Is Love" and brand new twists including a superbly mixed posthumous duet with BJ The Chicago Kid which truly feels like they're in the same room together and an Elevado-mixed acoustic Coffeehouse mix where Marvin's vocals and sentiments are given even more muscle due to their forefront position.
Review: Running Back Incantations was created as a series of non-dancefloor releases and its fifth edition came from Austrian producer Daniel Meuzard aka Feater earlier this year. The "Socialo Bianco" LP utilised the EMS Synthi AKS, which he painstakingly recorded entirely by hand and straight on to tape. The track lifted from the LP entitled "Time Million" has already received remixes by legends such as Ricardo Villalobos and Pepe Bradock on the first volume of reworks, followed by current scene heroes Pangaea and Krystal Klear on the second. On this third volume, Jamaican dub/reggae drummer with a Jah given gift for music, Blood Shanti takes over the whole release and serves up four perspectives. Feel the pure elation of the "Main Mix", followed by three jamdown versions: "Dub #2" works those delays and echoes to full effect in true old school style, while "Dub #3" veers into similar sonic territory as legendary dub producer Adrian Sherwood.
Review: There's a truly unique story behind this latest discovery from DJ Amir. Another great find from his Strata master tapes licence acquisition, TJ was written on the label of an undated, unmarked demo reel. No other information besides the beautifully raw soul on tape. Literally nothing is known about who TJ was (or were). Similarities with Shuggie Otis or perhaps Darondo are strong as the stripped back lightly treated guitars and his hazy, yearning vocal technique come on strong throughout. From the full bodied soul funk of "Love Flower" to the looped faraway harmonies and simple guitar backbone of "Time Is Wasting", the music is as strong the mystery itself. Beautiful.
Review: Be With Records and Emotional Rescue team up to present a special release of US jazz vocal group Rare Silk and their cult song, Storm.
A diggers cut for many years, more recently it's become an algorithm "hit". Presented here as a stand-alone limited 10" release, the song is backed by a spellbinding echo-drenched remix by New York's exemplary electronic sonic explorer, Arp.
Originally formed when sisters MaryLynn and Gaile Gillaspie met Marquerite Juenemann in southern California in the late '70s, with the arrival of Todd Buffa the trio quickly expanded to a four-part harmony vocal group. Signed to Polydor, they rose to prominence over the ensuing decade with the release of three albums that gained them multiple Grammy nominations.
Taken from their 1985 album American Eyes, Storm is based on a Stanley Turrentine song of the same name, from his 1971 album Salt Song. With additional vocals written by MaryLynn, as with much of their music -underpinned as it is by an otherworldly exotica - the artisanal, crafted care of the instrumental and vocal arrangements, featuring lush, rich phrasing, is evident in their exquisite reading of the song.
When deciding how best of present the song it seemed right to ask a favourite of both labels. Having appeared on Emotional Response in 2017/18, Alexis Georgopoulos returned to his Arp project with last years' much-heralded Zebra album on Mexican Summer. Stripping out the vocals, the remaining instrumental is rearranged, rebuilt and then soaked in heavy tape echo. The result is a discerning dub to act as the perfect accompaniment.
Review: Seven years later... Jay Kay and his band of merry soulmen return with bonafide grooves. Raw, to the point and covering a huge amount of ground, "Automaton" is an electrified hair-raiser that's designed to lift floors while "Nights Out In The Jungle" tickles the backbone from Daptone with its slinky, JB-style bass/drum groove and light rap/spoken word. Pure funk in both its original and most futuristic style... and on limited clear vinyl, too.
Review: Destination mid 70s Nairobi where Madagascan guitarist Jimmy Mawi was laying down some serious vibes... Signed to EMI's Pathe imprint, he released three singles during his career which have all since faded to obscurity. Until now. Dusty, garagey and steaming with raw blues fusion, it's hard to deny any parallels to Hendrix as Mawi expresses himself with a rough heartfelt frenzy. Highlights include the Zep-level smoked out soul of "Blue Star Blues" and the insistent drive and reverbed out faraway vocals on "Black Dialogue". Another exemplary Afro-funk find from Soundway.
Review: Something of a deity to many, Paul Weller has undergone more than his fair share of metamorphoses in a storied forty year career, but the quality control of his output post-2007's '22 Dreams' has surprised even some of most ardent devotees, and 'A Kind Revolution' is ample evidence that even as he approaches 60 his creative energy and questing spirit are undimmed. He's still searching for new modes of expression that belie his reputation as a soul-style traditionalist, and in a fractious and hostile era, the messages of hope are as much a balm as his increasingly mellifluous voice.
The Devil Made Me Do It (The Invisible Cosmic Echoes version) (4:51)
The Devil Made Me Do It (The Invisible Astral Wave version) (4:30)
Review: Like many drummers, Alex Puddu has long been inspired by the work of Tony Allen. He pays tribute to the legendary Nigerian sticks-man on "The Devil Made Me Do It", a sumptuous dose of groovy downtempo Afrobeat laden with Allen-style polyrhythms, Africa '70 horns and lashings of eyes-closed electric piano solos. On the flip you'll find two different interpretations from Puddu. The first, subtitled "The Invisible Cosmic", doffs a cap to the Afro-cosmic world of Daniele Baldelli while retaining much of the warmth and musicality of the original mix. "The Invisible Astral" version is an altogether more spaced-out dub, with Puddu smothering the drums and horns in copious amounts of tape echo.
Review: Longstanding Innamind representative Mikael sparks up our inner freaks once more with two system-primed sub smashers. "Wildfire" see-saws on a pivot-like atonal riff over a lolloping sub/kick flow and big splash rimshots while "Lintumies" is a spacier jam where stretched outer-space aesthetics play games with your head and the bass keeps kicking you out of orbit.
Review: Naturally, there's been plenty of hype surrounding this new Hyperdub 10", which features Burial indulging his often-discussed ambient influences. It's a typically creepy and ghostly affair, with the lack of beats - if not rhythmic elements - only serving to amplify the shadowy producer's impeccable sound design and brilliant use of manipulated field recordings. A-side "Subtemple" is particularly paranoid in tone, featuring as it does chilling melody loops, curious vocal samples, looped vinyl crackle and all manner of layered background noise. Flipside "Beachfires" is, if anything, even more dystopian, with Burial basing the action around the kind of pulsing chords that gust back and forth like an autumnal breeze.
Review: Ali Wells's Perc Trax has done incredibly well over the years, and in fact, this latest EP (the third in the series) marks the label's ten year anniversary! Patrick Sottrop aka Kareem drops "Just When You Thought It Was Over" on the A-side, unleashing a militant and subtly dubbed-out warhead for the peak time hours, while Wells himself touches down as Perc with the stormy, wide-eyed sound sculpture that is "Volley". Surprisingly, the kick drum - a menacing pound to the head - only pops up well into the track, leaving space for all other sorts of atmospherics and distortion to surface. Excellent, as per usual.
Review: A special release from Minimal Wave here as the uber rare Irene & Mavis EP from UK synth poppers Blancmange is granted a reissue! Those with a pub quiz winning level of knowledge of UK synth pop will no doubt be familiar with the 80s hits of Blancmange duo Neil Arthur & Stephen Luscombe, yet this debut EP dating back to 1980 will still sound revelatory. The self released Irene & Mavis EP marked Arthur and Luscombe to be fully willing to experiment with DIY electronics, impressing Mute founder Daniel Miller sufficiently to proclaim them "maiden aunts of electronic music," and thus more than suited as a subject of focus from the Minimal Wave label. There are definite similarities between this nascent stage of Blancmange and the output of Cabaret Voltaire from the same era, particularly in the masked and disembodied nature of the vocals, whilst "Holiday Camp" and "Just Another Spectre" are wonderful examples of instrumental synth music. Despite originally being released in 7" format, the six newly remastered tracks are presented here in 10" format by Minimal Wave with the distinctive artwork retained!