Review: You can always count on Afrikan Sciences to flip the script with what you think soulful electronic music should sound like. Tearing the grid up and pinging off on a cosmic voyage in between the notes, this is futuristic, jazz-minded machine music of the highest order. "Reciprocess" is a shuddering, but surprisingly focused exercise in cracking open the house music structure, while "Hullman Z" gets into a brilliantly futuristic boogie. "Just In Case I Do" takes a more laid back approach without eschewing the essential dose of freakiness, and "Son Shine" takes things in an explicitly broken beat direction with spellbinding results.
Review: Thankfully, Richard D. James has decided to finally release at least some of the output that he's been banging on about since mid-2000s. In a number of interviews, the might Aphex Twin hinted that he has vast artilleries of tracks stacked up and unreleased, probably more on purpose than out of laziness...or maybe not. What we do know is that AFX is reborn after the string of acid 12"s released about 10 years ago on Rephlex, that saw the alias become one of the most popular of James' alter egos. Orphaned Deejay Selek is a collection of tunes that contain all of the Twin's magic and unpredictably, but that also cut straight to the point and head to the middle of the dance floor. This is banging brain dynamite coated in the man's iconic style and flair. Welcome back AFX, and many hats off to Warp for making it happen.
Review: Chicago label Chained Library present some contemplative minimal noise experiments courtesy of the mysterious Agnes who presents the 012016002001 EP and it is mastered by the one and only Rashad Becker: which is fitting really. Fans of Becker's recent works will really appreciate these extreme and at times challenging sonic workouts on both sides, approximately 15 minutes each. Both extended pieces are reductionist electronic sound art at its finest. Very intrigued as to what this imprint is up to next.
Review: Back in 2016, legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen approached techno pioneer Jeff Mills with the idea of working together. A series of live gigs and off-the-radar studio sessions followed, with the first fruits of their joint efforts finally appearing on this must-have 10". As you'd expect, the duo's collaborative work combines Allen's traditional Nigerian polyrhythms, traditional Afrobeat instrumentation, and the far-sighted, sci-fi inspired electronic futurism that has always marked out Mills' work. The result is a quartet of cuts that could arguably be described as retro-futurist Afro-tech - all delay-laden beats, basslines and organs subtly sparring with gentle acid lines, Motor City electronics, beguiling deep space textures and shimmering, 31st century motifs. It's arguably Allen's stylistic contributions that dominate, but that's no bad thing.
Review: The latest outing on Vatos Locos' "Limited" series comes courtesy of Amo, an artist whose last solo outing - a decent but largely overlooked debut EP on Dissonant - was released way back in 2013. There's plenty to admire across the four-tracks, with opener "Find Turn" delivering an impressively deep, woozy and hypnotic blend of soft-touch electronics, drowsy, effects-laden vocals, dubbed-out aural textures and shuffling tech-house drums. Elsewhere, "Spitgame" is a more bass-heavy affair rich in wonky vocal snippets and bouncy drums, while "Whattosay" is a mind-altering chunk of early morning tech-house smothered in trippy electronics. To complete the package, Hector and David Gtronic join forces to deliver an off-kilter, club-ready minimal house revision of "Find Turn".
Review: Despite releasing a series of inspired, out-there 12" singles on Tabernacle, Offseason and Going Good, we're no nearer to discovering the identity of Anom Vitruv. In many ways, it doesn't matter. The music he produces - a ghostly blend of curious found sounds, crusty ambience, mawkish deep house and unsettling techno - seems to revel in its unmarked, untitled nature. This long player for Canada's Total Stasis continues on his now familiar theme, quietly shuffling between eerie soundscapes, experimental interludes, dubbed-out minimalist oddness (the weird but immersive "Track 3") and clanking, industrial house (the alien electronics and metallic percussion of "Track 4").
Review: Automatik-Datamatik is a label based in western Germany and founded in 2008 by Adalbert C. Kupietz. He would like to present you with this release, which is a tribute to his late father Leszek J. Kupietz. He was passionate drummer in the 70s/80s and is said to have toured intensively with his band all over the world. Although they never had the opportunity to collaborate directly, Adalbert had access to some of his recorded drum skills on this record. Electronically packed with analog synths accompanied by Leszek's Sonor drums. Used extensively on the album were PPG Wave 2.2, Fender Rhodes, Rhodes CHROMA, Hohner Clavinet, Yamaha CS-50VP-330 diverse ARPs, Korg and Roland Synths.
Review: Gravity Graffiti present more mesmerising sounds from far-flung reaches, this time showcasing the music of debutant Thai producer Anurak Boonliang. According to the label, Boonliang is steeped in classical Thai music training, and now applies his background to drum computers and synthesisers. The results are astounding, characterized by nimble melodic and percussive programming that moves between regimented rhythmic shapes and more free-flowing patterns with grace and elegance. "Reality" brings Boonliang's roots into focus with a field recording of what we assume is a traditional Pi Phat musical ensemble. If you're in the mood for fresh electronics unbound by the familiar structures embedded in Western culture, look no further.
Review: Some 25 years after delivering his debut 12", Richard D James hasn't lost the ability to thrill or inspire. By his obtuse standards, the material that makes up the surprise Cheetah EP is actually rather laidback and melodious. "Cheetah2 (LD Spectrum)", for example, sounds like a slow house jam written by robots, while the even deeper "Cheetah7B" shuffles along in a metronomic fashion, seemingly oblivious to the increasingly aggressive World at large. Of course, those trademark skittish IDM rhythms are present - see the B-side's lead cut - and the Cornishman has thrown in a couple of hazy ambient cuts for good measure.
Review: Appleblim teams up with the Middle Eastern label Boogie Box once more for some hybridized explorations on the cutting edge of soundsystem music. "Vurstep" is a wildly psychedelic banger that keeps the rhythms broken while the sound design levels tap into the same delirious vein as his ALSO work with Second Storey. "Dream Wisdom" takes things in a smoother direction, riding on laid back breaks and plush threads of melody in a vintage ambient techno style. Shed steps up to remix "Vurstep" and delivers one of his pointed masterclasses in stripped, UK-leaning techno, and then Forest Drive West trips the whole thing out with a heavily dubbed meditation.
Review: Speak to anyone who lived through them about the glory days of IDM and German producer Arovane (aka Uwe Zahn) is probably one of the first names they will happily reel off. Between the late '90s and his apparent retirement in 2004, Zahn was responsible for birthing a clutch of classic IDM longplayers like Tides and Lillies, the 2004 LP for City Centre Offices that seemed to signal his withdrawl from music. However, the production bug bit him again in 2013 and there has been a steady stream of Arovane output leading up to this Aarlenpeers EP. Issued on the Touchin' Bass label operated by self professed Arovan fan Andrea Parker, these two cuts bristle and pulse with abstracted electronic life in a manner one expects from Zahn. "Il_Eth" is quite epic.
Review: One of the great joys of James Clements' music as ASC is its thrilling unpredictability. While his productions have always been rooted in drum and bass, he's released little straightforward D&B for the best part of a decade. His latest outing on Samurai is dark and hard to pigeonhole, offering tracks that variously mix and match elements of intense acid, Autechre-style IDM, the sub-weight of D&B culture, the aural haziness of ambient and the skittish post-D&B rhythms that have long marked out his work. Our picks of a very strong bunch are the buzzing experimental techno psychedelia of acid-laden closing cut "Currents" and the sparse, sub-heavy haziness of opener "The Siren", where high tempo acid lines bubble away above a suitably hazy and paranoid backing track.
The McDonald's Prayer (Japan Blues regrind) (5:58)
The McDonald's Prayer (Ossia Milkshake mix) (3:19)
Review: Seb Gainsborough and Chester Giles' ASDA project has been one of our highlights over the last couple of years. Through their punky, deranged aesthetic, the duo have given new meanings to the spoken word disposition and, in the process, left the doors wide open for interpretation. The music scene needs that. We need that. It's as if their work has cleansed the air for us and taken our minds back to a time when genres weren't such a big deal; a palette cleanser, if you will! "The McDonald's Prayer" marks their second outing on for No Corner and, much like The Abyss LP, the tune blazes through poetry with disparate shots of bass and sparse percussion stabs. This is all rendered all the more special thanks to a remix from London's Japan Blues, whose remix duties ever since that pair of bruisers for Place No Blame have become household favourites of ours, and he's on form here; a lo-fi slew of bass moulds around hazy claps and peaceful melodies to create a masterful groove. Ossia comes in for the second remix, this time stretching the original out onto some vintage Metalheadz vibes... minus the breaks. Sick.
Review: Swiss producer Mehmet Aslan has been enjoying his most prolific year to date, returning from a two-year absence with a gaggle of well-regarded records. His latest outing is less obviously dancefloor-focused than much of his work, but no less enjoyable for it. A-side "Efjun" is an off-kilter, slo-mo treat, with the Berlin-based producer peppering a skewed rhythm track with dreamy vocals, nagging electric piano hooks and intoxicated electronics. Arguably even better is wonky flipside "Ghost Station", a hypnotic affair where pulsing, kosmiche style motifs and lo-fi synthesizer riffs cluster around lo-fi machine drums and a mind-altering bassline. It's brilliantly out-there and ghostly, all told, and is one of the producer's most arresting tracks to date.
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: Helena Hauff's label is back, this time presenting a various artists 12" that heralds the start of the No Return series. The release starts on a mystical bent with the Eastern-tinged death electro of "El Carmel", sounding ripe for a Hague-friendly warm-up session. Neud Photo then take over with a dystopian trip through rich synth tones coloured in dark hues for the bleakest of robotic fantasies. Antoni Maiovvi fills the B-side with the slow grinding bombast of "The Dig", bleeding out a noirish take on coldwave for the darkest hearts to swoon to.
Alessandro Adriani - "Do Not Deliver Me Into The Enemy's Hands" (6:01)
Raw Ambassador - "Attack, Attack!" (5:49)
Review: New Italian label Hiroshima 45 Chernobyl 86 Windows 95 present Pubblicazione 001. Starting off on the A side is Penelope's Fiance from Thessaloniki, who serves up a lo-fi and coldwave perspective of the Boards Of Canada on "Run & Gun", while Italians Rawmance and Security team up on the slo-mo EBM mutation of "Un Bon Flic" - bringing you the sound of latter's Knick Knack Yoda burger club in Rome. On the flip, Mannequin boss Alessandro Adriani gives us the gnarly 303 acid epic "Do Not Deliver Me Into The Enemy's Hands" and Raw Ambassador aka Antonio Barbetta gives us the early industrial sounds of "Attack, Attack!" with its rusty aesthetic calling to mind the classics of Portion Control or Skinny Puppy.