Review: The well regarded Whities label invites you deep into a darkened world of coldwave soundscapes on its next 12". There are Arabic overtones to Carl Gari's music here, both explicitly in the meditative vocals from Abdullah Miniawy, but also in the exotic synth drones that hang heavy in the air. It makes for a spiritual eight track affair that has a beautifully bleak and spiritual feeling: tracks are largely empty, absorbing affairs with only suggested rhythms moving you forward. Part organic and human, part mechanical and synthetic, Whities 023 is a bewitching and otherworldly listen of the highest order.
Review: This cryptic debut from Belgian AIR LQD mixes up science fiction, social criticism and punk ethics into a futuristic sound world where urban decay and artificial intelligence have really taken hold. The brittle, icy electronics of these tracks reminds of Kassem Mosse's experimental lo-fi house work on Workshop. "Repeat Itself" is interspersed with dehumanised voices from a darkened dungeon and leads to some brilliantly unsettling sounds. Abrasive textures rub up next to looping echoes, crashing metal hits and rubbery bass. Though wholly unnatural, paranoid and occult, it all feels so damn right.
Review: Amble is the new recording alias of an artist known only as Ess M, a Swedish producer who recorded this debut album at home "with a few select instruments". According to the brief sleeve notes, each of the tracks was recorded at night following days spent at work, resulting in less sleep but a set that ripples with otherworldly quality. Much of the material is reminiscent of the IDM sounds of the early to mid 1990s, where ambient style chords, melodies and gently throbbing acid lines rise above hushed or laidback beats. It makes for superb listening, with the producer's keenness on short, tight tracks resulting in a quickly changing journey through ear-pleasing, emotive electronica.
Review: For their latest must-check full length, Swiss ambient and jazz enthusiasts WRWTFWW have offered up a timely reissue of Satoshi Ashikawa's previously Japan-only 1982 album "Still Way". In some quarters it's considered a triumph of Japanese minimalism - an ambient set that was equally as inspired by Erik Satie as Brian Eno. The sounds are sparse, atmospheric and alluring, with simple harp, vibraphone, piano and flute motifs taking it in turns to rise and fall across the soundspace. It's intricate, soft-focus and hugely poignant, evoking memories of similarly lauded sets by Ashikawa's countrymen Hiroshi Yoshimura and Midori Takada. In other words, it's sublime.