Review: Earlier this year Minimal Wave offshoot provided one of this year's most visceral dancefloor weapons in Kino-I, the debut from Doug Lee's new An-I project. Taking inspiration from techno, jack, industrial and punk, An-I successfully drew a line under some of the Berlin-based artist's previous disco-flavoured endeavours. And then some! If you like the Kino-I 12" you will love the new triplet of An-I productions housed on this appropriately titled Gutz 12". The title track alone should come with a health warning; such is the furious onslaught of machine funk it contains, whilst the unnerving "Rut" is the most schizophrenic production you will hear this year. Best of all id closing track "Save Us" sounds like a cross between in Aeternam Vale and Silent Servant. Pressed on a rather thick and dashing slab of magenta orange vinyl!
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: Aphex Twin is either having a breakdown, or simply making up for lost time. Since dropping his first album in a decade, Syro, he's become strangely prolific, giving away vast amounts of music on Soundcloud and dropping EPs left, right and centre. This latest offering serves up the predictably hard to pronounce "Machromt30a Edit 2b 96", a blissfully melodious, Selected Ambient Works style slice of electronic beauty that was originally only available on the Japanese version of Syro. It's backed with two similarly impressive bonus cuts; the deliciously rolling, melodious "Xmas_Evet1N" (a brilliant alternate take of an album highlight) and "Machromt38 Fast", a skittish, Reflex-esque IDM reworking of the EP's title track.
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: 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!
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: Just the fact that the Shahr Farag imprint is from Iran is enough to grab our attention. This is both because it feels like a novelty to the scene, but also because that vast majority of arts that come out of the country are always so interesting. This time, label owners Lenta and Ahu are joined by Romanian minimal expert Vlad Caia, who serves an excellent, Eastern-minded quasi-dance rhythm in "Declination", and a purely abstract barrack of drones and low frequencies on "Neptune". Lenta himself drops a fuzzy wash of sounds and disparate beats through "Your Existence", while Ahu's "Blind By The Sun" has something in common with dub-techno, except that here the sounds that flutter up and down are grainy and imperceptible...and wholly wonderful. Tip!
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: Fresh from releasing the superb Pink Flamingos album on Dement3d, In Aternam Vale returns to Minimal Wave. This time round, he's not alone. Each of the tracks features the breathy, stylish vocals of Madrid-based Belarusian, Anneq. Her sleazy, whispered refrain is the headline attraction on the throbbing, industrial pop-meets-techno hustle of "Je Ai Dissous", while she also chats seductively over the undulating arpeggio lines, restless drums and dystopian atmospheres of "Tendencia (About Blank Version"). The ambient-leaning "V6" take of that cut is also hugely inspiring, while the Page R version of "Je Ai Dissous" is a dark, atmospheric and intoxicating celebration of legendary '80s "computer musical instrument", the Fairlight CMI.
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: 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: It's been a good week for Asylum, whose robust contributions to the Persistence's just-released third multi-artist EP have been picking up major plaudits. This limited-edition 7" single sees the unheralded producer mark his debut solo release with a decidedly spooky and foreboding chunk of industrial IDM. It boasts droning, fuzzy guitars and dystopian melody lines rising above a distorted, off-kilter drum rhythm. On the B-side, Downwards co-founder and '90s techno survivor Regis provides a remix that harnesses the inherent exoticism at the heart of Asylum's original while stripping back some of the darker elements that make the original version such a moody listen. His sparse but rolling drums are particularly impressive.
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: 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.
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.
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.
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: 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: 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.