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: Multi-Culti has invited us to join their "Calypso Cult", a shadowy musical organization with two named leaders. First to set out their tropical pagan manifesto is Mexican maverick Inigo Vontier. He first layers trippy, dubbed-out spoken word snippets and whistling synth lines atop a chugging arpeggio groove on "Jubile Is OK", before reaching for the hand percussion, dark electronics and weird noises on heavyweight throb-job "Masicka". Fellow cult leading light Thomass Jackson steps up to the podium on side B. His message is a little hazier and more spaced out, with the hypnotic eccentricity that is "El HiHat" being followed by "Naive Song In E Minor", a wonderful combination of undulating melodies, locked-in tropical percussion and feverish Balearic flourishes.
Review: As part of the mandatory Record Store Day celebrations, Young Turks pull together productions from Jamie XX, Four Tet, Koreless, and John Talabot for a limited 7" release. The more attentive followers of Young Turks will know the music here originates from a commission by artists Sofi Mattioli and Rebecca Salvadori who enlisted the four to provide short compositions for their film Continuum. The two minute productions were available to download for free at the time, but Young Turks obviously felt there was an audience out there that would want the music in a more tangible, and collectible, format. Of the four, it's the rather epic "Horizon" from Koreless that hits the hardest.
Review: Sometime Jahtari and Sex Tags sort Tapes (real name Jackson Bailey) is on fine form on this tidy ten-inch for Japanese imprint EM Records. "Summer Jam" more than lives up to its title, with the on-point producer peppering a rich, analogue-heavy electronic rhythm track with lo-fi sounding synthesizer flute solos and cheery, sun-kissed melodies. His digi-dub roots come further to the fore on undulating, delay-laden flipside "Salavere", where echoing electronic melodies seemingly drift above a sparse, clicking drum machine rhythm track. It too is rather fine, albeit in a deeper, woozier and altogether more spaced-out way. In a word: ace.
Review: Berlin / NY collective Climate of Fear releases its debut EP, "Laika's Revenge" - two tracks of sorrowful and menacing technoid expansions. Side A's "Escape Pod" shimmers like a mirage on a desert landscape, nearly evaporating in the heat; on Side B the title track is five minutes of roiling thunderstorm ferocity. Following his breakout 2018 lp "Sekundenschlaf" on Blackest Ever Black, "Laika's Revenge" expands on the artist's fevered vision of the dance.
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: 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.
Review: All three tracks here have a quality to them that suggests things could easily boot off at any moment, tension that rises and evolves and plays with intensity levels in very pleasing but never obvious ways. 'Psychedelic Frogs' is perhaps the best case in point, sending us spinning out into various cosmic realms that feel several planes above us. It's funk-disco-synth-leftfield business and we spent about an hour trying to come up with a more accurate, definitive description. We couldn't, which is indicative of what this sounds like.
Similarly label-defying is 'Gallium', a tune that seems to have been cut from the same cloth as 1960s spy themes and King of Woolworths productions. Closing out on the rumbling keyboard stabs of staccato builder 'Einstieg', it's not that they don't make them like this anymore, more that they have never really made much like this, period.
Review: Number three in the four part SchleiBen series from Emotional Response arrives with Don't DJ and Tropical Hi-Fi at the controls. The former is the current creative endeavour of Florian Meyer, founder of the Diskant label and one of the more experimental and academic producers to surface from Dusseldorf in recent times. He also forms one third of The Durian Brothers. Meyer's "Kosmose" is a 20 minute piece which explores the link between polyrhythmic percussion and brooding electronics; understandably, it's ripe with introspective qualities. Offering some contrast, Northern Australian producer Tropical Hi-fi turns in "Oceanic Mythology", a meandering journey through found sounds, psychedelia, folk music and more which sounds like listening to SUED B-sides whilst tripped out on acid.