Review: BOOM! Our favourites, Cititrax, roll the third editions of Tracks out onto our shelves, and the results are unsurprisingly strong on this excellent various artists comp. It's a mixed bag of skills, as per usual, and the sounds are those of a new NYC, fuelled by a new sort of post-industrial sensibility. Amato Y Mariana open with the tight beats and groove of "Queires Bailar", followed closely by the ominous compositions of the EBM-flavoured "Montgat" from The Sixteen Steps. On the flip, His Dirty Secrets bleeps out some morphed acid on "Structures", and "Another Stranger" from Further Reductions churns out a slow, mild-mannered house experiment with its roots clearly planted in the coldest of waves. Sick.
Review: There's a delightfully celebratory feel about this debut volume of Cititrax Tracks, a new 12" series from Minimal Wave offshoot Cititrax. As beautifully presented as we've come to expect, Tracks Volume 1 boasts a quartet of dancefloor-ready smashers from a blend of new faces and label stalwarts. Amato (aka The Hacker) kicks things off with the glistening EBM funk of "Physique" - all restless synth refrains and pounding bottom end - before LIES affiliate Tsuzing go all dark, psychedelic and twisted on the thrillingly intense, acid-flecked "King of System". An-I go all DAF (with a touch of Front 242) on the fuzzy and dystopian stomper "Mutter", before Cititrax regulars Broken English Club delivers a storming chunk of industrial-tinged analogue funk ("Glass"). Bravo!
Achwgha Ney Wodei(hand-numbered hand-stamped LP + insert + MP3 download code in spray-painted sleeve limited to 300 copies (comes in different coloured sleeve we cannot guarantee which one you will receive))
Review: Three years after delivering a stunning debut album that cemented their position as this century's finest fusionists of Middle Eastern music and analogue electronic music, Acid Arab return with a sophomore set that's every bit as impressive. The basic ingredients remain the same - think Arabic vocals, instrumentation and percussion mixed with heavy drum machine rhythms, raw electronics and mind-altering TB-303 motifs - though the resultant tracks arguably draw on a wider range of electronic music influences. So as well as nods towards acid house and techno, the album also contains throbbing, dancefloor-centric workouts informed by EBM, Italo-disco, new wave, synth-pop and industrial. It's a subtle switch-up, but one wholly in keeping with the French quartet's distinctive vision.
Review: Ziggy Stardust's yet unheard instrumental album after he returned from a trip on his Gemini spaceship. Not much is known of the shadowy producer (yes, despite the compelling pitch we gave you before!) as yet, but this just adds to the mystery surrounding the release as a whole. From hazy balearica to blunted hip-hop beats, deep country-infused exotica (if we've ever heard such a thing!) to lo-slung psychedelia - it's a captivating journey from start to finish. Will certainly appeal to fans of life in the slow lane, best presented recently by Marcus Worgull and Motor City Drum Ensemble's Vermont project or pretty much anything on London's Claremont 56 imprint. Highly recommended. Tip!
Review: Given that it's called "Coloured" and appears on shocking pink vinyl, you'd expect Adam Longman Parker's debut album as Afriqua to be a decidedly vibrant and kaleidoscopic affair. It is, of course, with Longman Parker offering up tracks that mix tropical-sounding electronics, glassy-eyed synthesizer motifs, processed vocal sounds and evocative musical flourishes with jaunty, interesting rhythms that neatly sidestep conventional genre rules. It's a mixture that makes for hugely enjoyable listening, with highlights coming thick and fast. These include - though are by no means limited to - the densely layered dancefloor cheekiness of "Shout", the minimalist ambient bliss of "Noir", the hypnotic, intergalactic oddness of "Native Sun" and the bubbly club warmth of "Jumpteenth".
Review: Stockholm industrialists Agent Side Grinder began life by releasing eight albums in seven years between 2008 and 2015. Here they return to action with their first LP since, the suitably dark, throbbing and intense "A/X". There's much to enjoy from start to finish, from the intoxicating, EBM-influenced paranoia of "Decompression" and grandiose mid-80s Depeche Mode brilliance of "Stripdown", to the unsettling throb and panicked electronics of "The Great Collapse" (a kind of "Personal Jesus" for the Twitter generation) and the unholy late night pulse of "Wounded Star", where Sally Dige's fragile and glacial vocal rises above a slo-mo arpeggio bassline and icily clandestine chords.
Review: Roberto Aglieri is a noted Italian flutist and composer, and his 1987 album Ragapadani stands as one of his finest achievements. Archeo Recordings are ever hip to the finest treasures hidden away in the folds of esoteric music, Italian or otherwise, and have done a great service in reissuing the album so that it might reach a wider audience. Aglieri's flute sounds haunting and evocative over the range of delicate synth treatments, largely orbiting the minimal realm but with a naive charm that makes the music wholly accessible at the same time. Soothing, thoughtfully crafted music for tender times.
Review: Air Cushion Finish formed in Berlin in 2007 and is comprised of composer JayRope and 'natural vocal synthesizer' Lippstueck, who have graced Berlin's underground scene together since the 1990s. Lippstueck sings wordless and backwards in time, while partner JayRope uses a combination of electronic and string instruments in an improvised, DIY fashion. According to Amsterdam based label Lullabies For Insomniacs, their ever evolving setup is imperative and 'subsequently music is programmatic to the band, resulting into an unforeseeable slow motion cacophony of whispers, bleeps, rhythms and harmonies.' The Flink LP is the duo's sixth studio album; a collection of experimental electronics, assembled in freeform fashion alongside some curious field recordings that you can fully immerse yourself in.
Review: Hiroshima-based producer Paul T Kirk is hardly prolific, but has nevertheless managed to release a string of fine albums over the last 14 years. Short Fuse is his first set for alt.vinyl and sees him expand on the dusty, otherworldly industrial, illbient and dark IDM experiments of his 2015 full-length, Sometime, Never. Kirk is a talented sound designer, capable of crafting fascinating, fully-formed tracks that rise above a sound soup built on manipulated field recordings, shortwave radio chatter and crackling electronic distortion. It's a formula that not only guarantees atmospheric listening, but also a string of fine tracks that veer from fuzzy industrial intensity to ghostly ambient bliss.
Review: The judicious Minimal Wave clan deliver another brilliant compilation of rare and wonderful music from the 1980's, this time an anthology of the best work from Japanese artiste Tomo Akikawabaya. Sourcing these songs in their original format has become harder and harder over the years, so they've really done us a favour with this effort. The double LP is made up of loneseom drones, lo-fi drum machine grooves and gorgeous synth work, all coated in Akikawabaya's wonderful vocal stance. The Japanese artiste has a unique style that borders on the melancholic, yet her music is always charged by a driving, proto techno feel. This is one to check if you weren't in the know.
Review: First reissue of this LP by Italian pioneer and Ennio Morricone cohort, Alessandro Alessandroni. Originaly released on Munich based experimental label Coloursound. Alessandroni at his best: very refined Italian cinematic sound, tense 12 strings guitar themes, synth sequences, beautiful sound of chamber classical music mixed with psych choir. You can feel Alessandroni's magical touch for melodies and arrangements on each song and at the same time, some Francois de Roubaix reminiscence on themes like "Dramatic". No doubt each track of this underrated masterpiece could have been a classic soundtrack theme.