Review: The new Bola album on Skam Records arrives after a long wait. "Kroungrine", the fourth full length album, drops like chewy beef and overcooked roast nuts; it has a crunch and fullness that satisfies and leaves you feeling truly replenished and unable to move.
Review: It's been a long time between drinks for Darrell "Bola" Fitton, a long serving IDM explorer who released five fabulous albums on Skam between 1998 and 2007. D E G, his first album in a decade, is a predictably beguiling and atmospheric affair. Beginning with the sumptuously spacey ambient sweep of "Fhorth", Fitton delivers a master class in hard-to-pigeonhole electronica. While some tracks are reminiscent of some of Autechre's more melodious moments (see "Herzzatzz" and the acid-flecked "Pelomen Vapour 2"), others draw influence from Rephlex style braindance (see the sharp synth riffs and bustling beats of "Landor 50X2"), spaced-out post-dubstep electronic folk ("Evensong") and ghostly, post-apocalyptic ambience ("Pelomen Vapour 3"). Throughout, it remains a hugely entertaining affair.
Review: UK techno veterans Mark Broom and James Ruskin first joined forces under The Fear Ratio alias back in 2011, delivering the inventive - and hugely enjoyable - IDM-meets-techno full-length, Light Box. Several years on the pair realign as The Fear Ratio for a second album, issued somewhat surprisingly through Skam, which gleefully explores similar sonic territory, whilst throwing a few more influences - most notably experimental hip-hop and vintage electro - into the pot for good measure. The result is a hugely entertaining album that naturally doffs a cap to Skam Records' dystopian roots, as well as the heavyweight soundsystem throb of dubstep, the hypnotism of dub techno, and the crackling electronic wizardry of Autechre.
Review: The reborn Skam comes through with an essential archival undertaking of one of the artists that helped establish them in the mid-'90s experimental electronic firmament. Dylan 'Jega' Nathan was highly lauded for his technically proficient, DSP-rich output on Skam and Planet Mu before sinking into the shadows to wide lamentation. Last seen on the latter label with the expansive album Variance back in 2009, Dylan pops his head back above the parapet with 1995, a double LP offering of early demos from the Skam archives. 1995 is made up of fifteen live, straight-to-tape jams from, oddly enough, 1995, mastered and collated together as a fine document of the flair Nathan possessed even in more technologically modest days.
Review: Autechre have had a long period of hiatus but this year saw the legendary pair reignite their chimerical touch on electronic music thanks to their ne alias Lego Feet, demonstrating the pair's previously unknown electro sensibility. Made up of 4 parts, the first takes a Chicago spin on things, with that muffled rave bassline prowling hastily over the freeflowing synths below it. "Part 2" sounds something like Autechre and Drexciya combined, but "Part 3" is where we enter videogame mode, flushing in a serious dose of Mario Bros melodies. "Part 4" differs greatly once again, working that drum machine to its full potential.
Review: Ever since the label's formation in 1991, Skam has strived to support innovative artists based around its home in NW England. VHS Head - AKA Ade Blacow - fits into this category rather well; not only does he hail from Blackpool, but he also sources the majority of his sounds from old VHS tapes. This second album follows some four years after the VHS Head debut set Trademark Ribbons of Gold arrived and is a thoroughly enjoyable listen, delivering a quirky but attractive blend of cut-up electronic funk, bespoke IDM rhythms, vintage synth melodies and wayward electronics. If Dam Funk, Funkineven, Autechre and Boards of Canada got down in the studio together, it would probably sound like this.