Review: When he launched the "Xerrox" series way back in 2007, Alva Noto intended it to run to five volumes. Here he presents the fourth volume, which largely eschews "external samples" of everyday sounds - the series was inspired by the idea of creating new musical motifs from "copies of copies" - in favour of greater warmth, emotion and musical dexterity. There's much to enjoy throughout, from the appealing, slow-burn haziness of deep ambient opener "Xerrox Kirlian" and the distinctly cinematic, Angelo Badalamenti-in-"Twin Peaks"-mode beauty of "Xerrox Voyage", to the Radiophonic Workshop style creepiness of "Xerrox Cosmos" and the melancholic, string-laden swell of "Xerrox Canaux".
Review: Despite suffering some significant losses in terms of infrastructure, specifically venues, the electronic music output of Glasgow hasn't faltered since rave first hit, and the city's current crop aren't letting the side down. Not that newcomers should really see 12th Isle as fresh faced; the ambient-downtempo-deep tech hypnosis crew have been doing all that and more for time already, with this 12" a fitting return to the release schedule. In the most part it's a tripped out, spatial and exotic EP. For proof, just check the solitary low ends of 'Mais Qu'est Ce Que', shuffling and breathy percussive roll on 'Spade Birthday', and the lush tropical vibes of 'La Plage Sous Les Arbres'. But there's also evidence of the more direct side this imprint and associated events are known for when you hear the progressive house heaven of 'Deep In Blue', a track that belies genre stereotypes by sounding fresh enough to drop into anything.
Review: Malin Genie welcomes an extensive EP treat from Lava Lap, an emergent producer with an affinity for the kind of braindance that will have fans of Jodey Kendrick beating their drum machines with approval. The acid is slippery, the structures ever-shifting and a wealth of expression spills out of every bar. There are faster drum & bass paced bits, melancholy detuned electro and much more besides. Far from just being clever music though, it's also amazingly emotional and so impeccably produced. Any electronica head should be all over this.
Review: It's impossible to deny how tight the production on this experimental but highly workable and coherent double-A side actually is. Both tunes belong on the Everything In Its Right Place shelf, and each of those things seems to have been crafted with meticulous attention to detail. Opening on the original version of 'Kodokushi', there are more than a few clear references to the glory days of progressive breakbeat dance music, with the track a sparse, space-age set opener if ever there was one, gradually unfolding into a subtle and loose rhythm crying out for heavier beats to mix in. The Toulouse Low Trax remix goes someway to answering that call, bringing a gradually growing groove into the equation and heightening the percussive elements, leaving us somewhere between an instrumental of Massive Attack's 'Karma Coma' and Sasha's 'Airdrawndagger' LP.
Review: Having spent the last couple of years establishing the Tessellate label via fine EPs from the likes of Aleksandir and Armless Kid, imprint co-founders Max van Dijk and Oli Hiam have decided the time is right to debut their new production project, The Trip. "Wet Your Whistle" is certainly a confident and quietly impressive debut, with the title track adding a little intergalactic futurism and acid-flecked psychedelia to a retro-futurist deep house groove. They continue to join the dots between the eras on "Miss The Point", where glitchy tech-house style electronics and acid flashes leap above a chunky groove and bold organ stabs. The flipside boasts two versions of "Friend Request": their own bouncy, bass-heavy, skipping and acid-flecked "Sax Mix", and the weighty, off-planet tech-house flex of the Mbius rework.
Review: Sometimes we all need to escape from the realities and mundanities of everyday life. Here's your perfect opportunity. On this beautiful, playful and sincere collection of 'niceness' , the legendary Alessandro Alessandroni allows us to take a step back in time by painting stunningly detailed pictures with broad, jazz-inflected brush strokes.
Putting elements of Bossa Nova, freeform, classical and Big Band to innovative use, the result is a hugely enjoyable and - in today's world - incredibly unique insight into the type of output this Italian musical titan left behind when he finally bowed out in 2017, at the grand age of 92. This is just a flavour of the more than 40 movie soundtracks and scores of library recordings that now make up his legacy, making for a delightful way to get familiar with one of the 20th Century's greats.
Review: As anyone who copped his 2016 debut album as Nullptr will attest, Eddie Symons' brand of electro is audibly more far-sighted and otherworldly than his peers. Given that electro is by its very nature a futurist artistic form, that's high praise indeed. Symons is naturally in fine form on the aptly titled "Future World", his first album for much-loved Sheffield imprint Central Processing Unit. Full of bustling beats, bold analogue melodies, shimmering chords, squelchy bass and undulating acid lines, the set offers a well-judged balance between angular, forthright club cuts - many of which are in a similar sonic vein to Drexciya - and deeper, more melodious moments that reminded us a little of Gerard Hanson's work as Convexion and Boris Bunnik's Versalife releases.
Review: Talk about the power of pure rhythms. 'Yek 166-3', to reference just one of four iterations here, is as propellant as anything you're likely to hear in a club, but if heard mid-party would be one of the most challenging curveballs you could ask for. Comprised entirely of tribal-like top end percussive structures set at breakneck pace, it's a great place to start with this release overall - a package that's as much about artistically accomplished complete tracks as it is providing workable elements for use in something larger. A DJ's delight, this isn't to say all four arrangements don't deserve to be heard individually. '134-17' growls and shimmers in a way that's subtly complex, ideal for headphone or big rig play. '128-10' is more about poised dark tech atmosphere, while '127-17' exists within looser frameworks, leading to more serene and relaxed results.
Review: Tokyo's Hoshina Anniversary boasts an impressive discography, with must-check singles on ESP Institute, Safe Trip, Jack Department, and GND Records to his name. The majority of these were naturally dancefloor focused and rather robust, just like his earliest album on Boyznoize. Yet in recent years, he's taken to exploring the more atmospheric worlds of ambient and electronica, and it's these sounds that form the backbone of new album "Go Shichi Go Shichi Shichi". Big on bold, bubbly synthesizer melodies, spacey chords, alien-sounding electronics and quirky, off-kilter rhythms, the album flits between ambient soundscapes, otherworldly IDM and fiendishly fuzzy soundscapes that add a layer of experimental intensity to the producer's often ear-catching compisitions.
Review: Los Angeles has firmly established itself as one of America's electronic music capitals over the last ten years, with the city particularly fertile in more experimental ends, where rave, urban and downtempo collide in a haze of found sounds, samples and original loops. Kutmah pretty much encapsulates this point. Melding elements of hip hop, post-punk and industrial, 'New Appliance' is basically the producer's new calling card - a mini masterpiece that's so tight and well-executed it leaves no questions as to the creator's ability. 'Ramallah''s intoxicating Arabic references, crackling recordings of bells, haunting chants and exotic flutes. 'Stoned In Brixton' cries out for a sunset to soundtrack, nodding to the productions of DJ Krush or Bibio, with the latter similarly invoked on 'Tres Flores'. Smoked-out innovations by the kilo.
Review: It's damn near impossible to say much that hasn't already be said about Neneh Cherry, and this, her still-startling debut album from 1988, which - in contrast to a substantial proportion of that era's efforts - has managed to stand the test of time remarkably well. Not that we were ever in any doubt. If you can, cast your mind back to what things were really like then and realise just how forward thinking this far-reaching marvel was at the time. Using elements of block party hip hop, future disco, acid house and synth pop, that it pre-dates the widespread popularity of almost all those genres makes its mainstream success all the more eyebrow-raising. This, and the fact you've probably spent more time on the dancefloor punching air to 'Buffalo Stance' at house parties than most other tracks, makes 'Raw Like Sushi' a genuinely essential album to own.
Review: Has there been a Planet Mu or Ital Tek release that hasn't packed a punch? Often divisive as a result, whether it's usually the right punch or not is a personal matter, but suffice to say yaysayers will be won over by the latest from both stable and producer. It's heavy, intelligent music that's steadfast in its rejection of anything like the norms - sitting somewhere between IDM, EBM, ambient and dubstep. As you'd expect, then, there are moments of real intensity. In fact, more than a few. The dystopian hoovers and thunderous kick drum of slow death rave anthem 'Bladed Terrain', or the equally well-titled bassbin killer 'Deadhead'. But although plentiful (and bountiful), those moments are contrasted by elegance and wide-eyed cinematic grandeur - 'Chamber Music', 'Open Heart' and 'Diamond Child'. Perhaps one of the best bass records you'll find in summer 2020.
Review: Before you dive headfirst into this one it's probably worth pointing out 'Pitturamusica' is as much an academic exercise as it is a complete album. There are moments of such heartbreaking beauty you feel genuinely touched to the core - the sweet, sombre and hushed strings of 'Corpopaesaggio', for example. But then the artists make no secret of what the record was designed to do, namely use the basis of Musique Concrete to see what lies down some pretty abstract roads. Whether processing human voices to within one iota of coherency, as on the frenetic 'SB', or captivating listeners with the intricate flutes of 'Conchiglia', it's safe to say they make more than a few intriguing discoveries. At times these are challenging and somewhat chilling ('Apollo'), in other moments the white noise, crackles and found sounds seem to celebrate the chaos of life itself ('Venere D'Urbino').