Review: The seventh and final instalment of De:Tuned's brilliant Unboxed Brain series - an unashamed tribute to 1990s IDM and ambient techno featuring contributions from many of the artists who defined that scene - is predictably special. It features a slew of new remixes of previously released tracks, plus "Monolith", a previously unreleased ambient track from the Future Sound of London that's every bit as weird, wonderful and out there as the duo's greatest work. Elsewhere, Kirk Degiorgio (as Future/Past) and Mark Broom both drag B12's "World's End" towards the dancefloor (the latter providing a punchy electro re-make), while The Black Dog provides a brilliantly blissful, string-drenched ambient interpretation of Scanner's "Eros".
Review: Last year Burial and the Bug joined forces as Flame 1, delivering an in-demand EP on the latter's Pressure label featuring two sizable slabs of industrial strength soundsystem science. Here they return as Flame 2, once again offering up a pair of weighty dancefloor excursions. A-side "Dive" is a loud and claustrophobic affair, as the duo wraps dystopian dub bass and sparse, mutilated post-drill rhythms in layers of apocalyptic aural textures and mind-altering dub techno style processed noise. Flipside "Rain" is arguably more suitable for dancefloor plays and sees the esteemed twosome combine pulverizing sub-bass heaviness with dancehall style drums that come smothered in mind-melting effects and paranoia-inducing aural smoke.
Review: Nico Jaar is evidently enjoying juggling his own creative urges with the responsibilities of running Other People, with the label's latest transmission a most daring experiment indeed. Under the banner Terepa, NHK'Koyxen called on Rashad Becker, Laurel Halo, Julia Holter, Charlotte Collin, Lucrecia Dalt and Gregoire Simon to join him in an international improvised recording session. These two 20 minute sessions were conducted without any form of communication with the results layered and mixed by NHK'Koyxen into the two pieces presented here. Despite the number of people involved there is a remarkable serenity to opening composition "28th October 2014" whilst "8th August 2014" is more redolent of the abstract noise one expects when Becker and NHK'Koyxen are involved. A most interesting sonic endeavour.
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.
Review: Will Bankhead's Trilogy Tapes imprint continues their assault on 2012 with the latest release of Tuff Sherm - an alias of TTT regular Dro Carey. Sitting nicely alongside the KM/MM and Willie Burns releases on TTT this year, the Pharmacy EP showcases a sound that is part raw techno, part submerged house; the title track combines rolling tom-heavy percussion with abrasive unprocessed synth tones, like Drexciya jamming with Kassem Mosse. On the flip, "Hydlide" makes things even murkier, with some abstract beatdown house that would give Madteo a run for his money, while "Leg Man" is another trip down the wormhole of abstract loops and minimal clockwork rhythms. We probably don't need to tell you, but this is another essential 12" from TTT!
Review: TV Baby are NYC duo Matthew McAuley and Brain (not a typo, apparently) McPeck who are what local legend James Murphy would describe as using "borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered 80s" with their brand revised no-wave antics. Produced by Gabriel Andruzzi of the Rapture, their music is impressive nonetheless and gets some equally impressive remixes by these guys: check 'em out. First up is Los Angelo Secret Circuit doing his trademark psychedelic synth thing on "Free Tech", Tom Of England hands in two remixes of "Wild Joy", but it's all about the "Tom Of England Astro instrumental" where it stutters and glitches away in real style. Finally "Klerin Priest" gets the remix treatment and we'd have to hand the award to Ivan Smagghe whose "Frossed Remix" channels that dirty late night Paris feel much like his early Black Strobe releases did: grinding, squealing and booming about the place. One of his best remixes in years, if you ask us.
Review: Valcrond Video presents the next work by sound and image artist Luke Wyatt, Songs From Bad Kid School.
On a high desert plain, inside a cinder block compound, a prank squad is incarcerated. Between fiddling with ninja stars and leafing through back issues of Fangoria, they find time to scrape out the soundtrack of their escape.
On the first track, heatsick guitars and steel wool beats suggest a landscape strewn with abandoned car carcasses, old Camaros left for dead in the sun, used for shotgun practice.
The B-side leads off with the beat-less, articulated sprawl of "Saline Flats". Here is the story of a desert search for water: figures warping mirage-like on the horizon as they make a confused journey over dunes, ending with a cathartic drone that suggests the mirages resolving into a real oasis. Though it is just as likely that the bad kids have expired from thirst, and ascended to the sublime.