Review: Alongside regular studio partner Andreas Baumecker, Sam Barker has released a swathe of admired singles and a couple of on-point albums on Ostgut Ton. Here he returns to the much-loved German imprint with his most significant solo release to date: a debut album of drowsy, sun-baked electronic positivity that expertly melds elements of hazy ambient, dub techno, off-kilter electronica and the classic kosmiche synthesizer soundscapes associated with Tangerine Dream. It's a lot less dancefloor-focused than much of his previous material, but that's not a criticism: indeed, the fact that it's warm, opaque and prioritizes fuzzy, slowly shifting musical movements is the album's greatest strength.
Review: You'll struggle to find another album opener that's quite as striking as "Oh, Lovely Appearance of Death", the stunning ambient-folk cut that kicks off Phillip Sollmann's first album as Efdemin for five years. It's utterly beguiling and features a traditional folk acapella over layers of hushed electronic chords. It sets the tone for an album in which Sollmann effortlessly saunters between atmospheric and droning dancefloor techno ("Good Winds", the 14-minute, Berghain-friendly "New Atlantis"), woozy experimental ambient works ("At The Stranger's House"), Jew's Harp-sporting club cuts ("A Land Unknown"), discordant free tech-jazz ("Temple") and the kind of hazy, traditional music-meets-electronica cuts that have previously been a hallmark of Firecracker's Mac-Talla Nan Creag ("The Sound House").
Review: Rene Pawlowitz is back on Ostgut Ton with his first album for the Berlin powerhouse since 2010's "The Traveller". It's an interesting time to hear Shed diving into his own particular distillation of techno and soundsystem ethics - sounds that have coalesced and splintered into so many factions in the past 10 years. Of course there's no doubting the man's ability to bring us the freshness - just listen to the steady dub throb and madcap break science of "Menschen Und Mauern" and marvel in the compositional heft. This is stunning, nimble, smart and downright fun club music and home listening fare sitting comfortably side by side, rarely mutually exclusive and shot through with the kind of studio precision we've come to expect.