Review: While he's offered up the occasional remix, William "Burial" Bevan has been rather quiet of late. In fact, this two-tracker marks his first original material for almost two years. Lead cut "Claustro" is an unexpectedly up-tempo dancefloor affair - a sweet and sticky chunk of future-garage that sees Bevan wrap sugary female vocal snippets, spacey chords and bubbly analogue electronics around snappy two-step beats - drenched in vinyl crackle and tape hiss - and a rock solid bassline. It will raise a few eyebrows given his previous work but nevertheless sounds like a summer anthem in waiting. Bevan returns to familiar territory on flipside cut "State Forest", a ghostly, field recording-laden ambient excursion where pedal steel style motifs slowly rise above opaque electronics.
Review: As hinted by the stark but bold cover art, Stockholm-based experimental composer Ellen Arkbro has adopted a more minimalist approach on her latest album for James Ginzburg's admirable Subtext label. "Chords" comprises two lengthy pieces, each of which stretches out alluringly across a side of vinyl. A-side "Chords For Organ" sets the tone, with Akbro making merry with unsettling sustained notes, foreboding electronic tones and droning electronic pulses. It's pretty challenging, but strangely alluring in a mind-altering kind of way. "Chords For Guitar" applies a similar approach to effects-laden guitar passages, with individual notes - processed to resemble odd electronic tones - sparring with slowly strummed chords over 17 mesmerizing minutes.
Review: On his previous Konx-Om-Pax albums for Planet Mu, Tom Scholefield offered up a kaleidoscopic mixture of sweaty rave influences, colourful ambient melodies and abrasive, abstract sounds. On "Ways Of Seeing", his first album for three years, he's decided to flip the script, opting for a more optimistic, melodious and warmer sound that draws on a far wider range of influences. It's a switch that has paid dividends, with each successive track bringing a new sun-bright or morning-fresh blend of glistening electronics, tuneful lead lines, shuffling rhythms, leftfield pop hooks, deep space chords and humid aural textures. Yet for all the colouful electronic positivity, Scholefield still refuses to deliver unnecessarily polished tracks, instead opting for a thrillingly fuzzy finish fully in keeping with his experimental roots.
Review: Lifted's off-kilter ambient electronics were rightly praised by critics when the improvisation-loving trio (who can count Andrew Field-Pickering AKA Max D amongst their number) released their debut album back in 2015. It's likely that this impressive follow-up will be similarly lauded. "2" offers up tracks that mix languid ambient motifs and pleasingly skewed melodies with jazzy, off-kilter drum machine percussion, unsettling free-jazz sax solos, starburst electronics and bizarre but brilliant blasts of instrumental eccentricity. At times, it's deliciously challenging, at others blissfully brilliant. On rare occasions - as on standouts such as "Rose 31", "Blackpepper" and "Total Cure" - it's both of those things at the same time.