Review: Long-time sonic sparring partners and kindred fusion spirits Paradox and Nucleus return to their Esoteric imprint for more glacial goodness. "Beatbox" is a perfect example of the two OGs' sonic palette. Unhurried, spacious and colder than an overnight party-for-one in a morgue. "Plexus", meanwhile, takes us even deeper down their rabbit hole. Stripped back to a well-chiselled two step, rolling break, cosmic pads that constantly mutate and a velvet sub bass that really pops when you drop this on a big rig, it's perfect hypnotic fodder for the 4am crew.
Review: It would be fair to say that Montreal duo Essaie Pas don't have a particularly positive view of our planet. "Earth, what a shithole," they moodily grumble on the title track from their latest EP on DFA, their first since the release of last year's "New Path" LP. The cut itself is perhaps not quite as dark as you'd expect, with its throbbing, dark Italo-style arpeggio bass and crunchy drum hits being peppered with sharp, trance style synthesizer motifs, bubbly electronic riffs and female vocals that add an extra frisson of positivity. Italian scene stalwart Marco Passarani delivers a flipside interpretation that brilliantly re-casts the cut as a Bobby Orlando style mid-1980s Hi-NRG club cut, while bonus track "Corps Etranger" is a pleasingly sparse, bubbly and alien-sounding chunk of intergalactic electro.
Review: White Peach daddy Zha returns to his own persy bakery for more dread bread bass. Every bit as tasty as previous Naan excursions, it's another eastern banquet; "Floating" is soft, spacious, spongey, singular and liable to sweep any wavey people right off their feet. "Shower" flips the vibe entirely for a bashy, reverse string splash-about while "Father" is a head-first drive down a shimmering sitar rabbit hole. "Jaan" sends us packing on a magic carpet of hang-drums, deep mystic pads and gentle strings. Life affirming.
Review: Back to 94! AKO bossman Stretch digs deep into the DAT vault for these hefty piece of jungle dubplate history. "Dem Want It (VIP)" is all about those rolling percussive breaks and that bulging sub. Minimalism with clarity and soul, this still pokes the hell out of systems to this day. "Ganja Dub" on the B brings a little more soul to the jam with some beautiful keys before dropping back into Stretch's signature ruffage, sub-led sound. Released as part of AKO Beatz 150th release celebrations - and already sold out on picture disc - neither track have seen the light of a full vinyl release until this year, yet both sound as future as they did 25 years ago. Beatz working.
Review: Let the "Games" begin! MOREOFUS returns to juice us up with his long-awaited return on White Peach. Four future-focused instrumentals, all brittle, bruising and abstract, if you were lucky to be at Outlook this year then you'll know all about these ones. "Games" takes the lead with a broken glass riff that's comprised of multiple lines all Q&Aing each in quick back-chat mode. "Runnin'" continues the chaos with a trip through a maze of eastern flutes and pipes while "Thieves" gives us a breather with a deeper vibe and a bassline that sounds like it came from 2007. Finally "Do You Know" closes with another uncompromising sound palette. Cold-yet-dramatic and set somewhere far far in the future. Game over.