Thanks in part to one of the biggest Record Store Days thus far, good music was not short in supply this April. Making sure that you get a full flavour of what the month had to offer, our writers combed the most distant corners of the internet and the dustiest vinyl emporiums to deliver what’s possibly our most eclectic selection yet. Intriguingly jarring neon-pop, Japanese Disco-Acid crossovers and New Jersey dancefloor sounds all have a home on April’s staff picks..
Hannah Diamond – ‘Attachment’ (PC Music)
Just what exactly is going on here? Following the post-modernist triple-inverted irony of Hannah Diamond’s 2013 single ‘Pink & Blue’, the UK-based Pop agitator returns with more WTF-isms for PC Music. The barely listenable playground vocal track, the pure-Pop heartbreak lyricism of lines like “I remember all the times when we would go to sleep / and you were next to me / and I would see you in my dreams”, combined with the creepily delivered “now I saved you as a picture on my phone” – there is something confusingly brilliant about the 4 minutes of music here, and it’s nothing if not original. Possibly not for everyone, but I can’t say I’ve heard a better off-world anthem for replicant heartache.
IZC – ‘Zig Zag’ EP – (disko404)
Release-of-the-month however, has to go to this 4 track EP from Viennese producer IZC. Mixing up influences from Techno, UK Funky, Detroit House and more, ‘Zig Zag’ delves into a world of killer sub hits, cold Grime rhythms and colder-still synth work. The title track acts as a highly accomplished and disorientating 4/4 heater, whilst the tension and immediacy of tracks like ‘Untitled’ and ‘Strings 2129’ are ready built for the dance. Add to that the slightest of warmth brought to proceedings via a stripped down hardware set-up, and you’ve got yourself something special for the heads-down camp.
KZA – ‘Le Troublant Acid’ (Endless Flight)
An old track that has recently been re-released as part of an excellent compilation. This is Acid at the completely different end of the spectrum. A bizarre combination of Japanese Disco mixed with an incredibly simple Acid bassline and ethereal vocals makes a unique and unforgettable combination of elements. I’ve left this track on repeat for an embarrassingly long time since I first heard it…
(Thee) Mike B – ‘Tree House Acid (unreleased)
I’d never heard of this guy until this track dropped in my Soundcloud feed. This is Acid House at its finest. There’s nothing particularly ground breaking about the track but there really doesn’t need to be. There’s an infectious 303 line of course, some superb tweaking and an incredible crude but marvellous gater effect. This is one for all the Acid heads out there.
Calibre – ‘Getter Go’ (The Nothing Special)
Its often said that should a nuclear apocalypse ever occur, the only certain survivors would be an unseemly multitude of cockroaches. Personally this writer is of the opinion that these roaches would be kept company by the venerable Mr.Dominick Martin, better known as Calibre, such is the Northern Irishman’s none more dependable level of consistency. Here on this 12″ outing for fabric stalwart Craig Richard’s The Nothing Special, Martin delves further into the House sound he first explored back on 2012’s ‘Renaissance’ EP. B-Side ‘Getter Go’ is the pick of the pair for me, with a hazy sub beavering away with frantic subtlety to provide the rhythmic bedrock on which some vintage Calibre pads are allowed to set the mood. Tense and sensual stuff somewhat reminiscent of fellow House via DnB producer Marcus ‘Trevino’ Intalex.
Mike Q & DJ Sliink – ‘Werk’d It’ (Fade To Mind)
Ballroom ambassador MikeQ and Jersey club wunderkind DJ Sliink combine the Garden State’s two most prominent dance subcultures on this killer 12″ for the increasingly impressive Fade To Mind. Continuing the label’s knack for presenting disparate global hybrids as inherently danceable club trax, an appreciation of ‘Werk’d It’ requires little prior knowledge of the colourful histories of both styles represented here. Sliink’s trademark vocal stutters act both as a hook and a percussive tool, interlocking with scatter shot snares, shimmering staccato chord stabs and the occasional drum freakout. Hyperactive and hypersexualised, ‘Werk’d It’ is a cut from two distinctly regional producers speaking in a language that’s understood in clubs around the world.
Breaker 1 2 vs. Ekman – ‘BH 005’ (Berceuse Heroique)
Berceuse Heroique has been off to a storming start and release number five shows that it’s got no intention of slowing down. Punishing acidic jams on both sides, with serious sinister undertones running throughout the entirety of the release. The Ekman offering just about comes on top for me, if only for the gloriously silly name. ‘Fuck Your Rock And Jack Yor Funk’ couples an unsettlingly distorted vocal with a downright nasty bassline. Ooft.
Colin Potter – ‘I Couldn’t Agree…’ (Sacred Summit)
I missed this when it came to Record Store Day, but thankfully the leftovers of this nifty little Industrial / Cold-Wave 7” made their way over to Honest Jon’s once the dust from the big day had settled. Full of energy and charmingly loose in its production, this is damned good stuff and well worth getting your hands on if you’re a fan of the synth-based Post-Punk meanderings of the 80s.
Donato Dozzy & Tin Man – ‘Test 7’ (Absurd Records)
Having formerly remixed each other for the sublime Acid Test series, these likely lads were already well acquainted, but this marks the first true collaborative studio release from a match made in heaven. Donato’s signature brand of airy melodic Techno is blended with Tin Man’s masterful aesthetic for three track of deep hypnotic bliss. The finesse of that 303 at the centre of this track stands out the most and took me on a ride right throughout April. So simple, so parfait
Kidkanevil – ‘Inakunaru’ (featuring Phasma) (Project Mooncircle)
Kidkanevil has an infatuation with Japan, this track taken from his excellent new album inspired by a summer spent in Tokyo captures a sense of daydreaming and childhood wonder. A collaboration with Yokohama based artist Phasma, this blissful piece of positivity has been a hallmark on my iPod for lazy strolls through the park this past month.
Sigha – ‘The Purification Loops’ (Avian)
Sigha returns to Avian after previous releases under the moniker A Vision of Love. With The Purification Loops, Sigha blurs the lines between ‘the dance floor and the ritual chamber’. The wall of sound consists of forthright, dogged bass lines, and an inventive mix of double and half time rhythms buried beneath delicate drones and tender textures. The release exhibits Sigha’s adeptness at maintaining the listeners attention and interest through repetition and subtlety.
Drøp – ‘Vasundhara’ (Arboretum)
Not dissimilar to the Avian release above, this EP focusses heavily on sound design and textural depth. This time the soundscapes are more corrosive and candid with a heavy focus on erosion and experimental arrangements. Techno credentials are never lost as the EP packs a huge amount of weight in the sub bass department. Completely unpredictable, the EP makes for an immersive and inclusive listen if you have an experimental inclination. Backed with an incredible DJ appropriate remix from Dadub.
Erra – ‘Noogshot’ (Special Stage Audio)
Its usually Tomas that comes up with the Grime flavours for Hyponik, but this month I have come across one of the most affecting debuts within the spaceman end of the genre in a long time. It comes in the form of new Nottingham Grime label Special Stage Audio’s Erra – a man some of you may be familiar with from his days at Well Rounded, Berkane Sol and Frijisfo Beats. “Noogshoot” the first track from his ‘Lemon Drizzle EP’ is similar to the weightless output of the Boxed gang, with disembodied Garage vocal snippets running amok between the speakers before being joined by an Eski-influenced bass stab, pitch bent doom laden synths and an extremely sinister dark harmonic bed.
Habits of Hate – ‘Limelight Roles’ (Electronic Explorations)
Happa and Manni Dee’s (Habits of Hate) explosive release for Electronic Explorations smacks you in the face like a run-away articulated truck – fully mashing you right up and mangling your senses. Limelight Roles – the opening number on their eponymous debut – fits nicely into the new ‘UK Techno’ spectrum occupied by people such as Akkord, Livity Sound and their ilk, by using Bashment drum patterns within a Techno centric template. However, whereas artists such as Akkord utilise a clean, clinical alien sounding sound palette, Habits of Hate go completely in the opposite direction by combining the rusty, headiness of the likes of Perc and Regis with brutalist kick drum assaults and squeaky, mangled percussive treatments to get their point across. Sick, pitch black war Techno is what this is.
Strict Face – ‘Highbury Skyline’ (Gobstopper Records)
Trippy, reverb-heavy new Grime fare from Australian producer Strict Face who reps the Gobstopper mantra as loudly as Bloom did when he released ‘Quartz’ back in 2012. Spacial and off-beat, it flows around complex, roaming melodies that seem to embody Grime’s raw elements within their own mystical, futuristic new context. Genuinely mind-bending, back to the future stuff.
Kid Smpl – ‘Silo Tear’ (Hush Hush)
More near-beatless ecstasy from Seattle-based producer Kid Smpl who continues to elevate his sound with every release. This one is a little more ominous in composition, with industrial clangs and dreary reverb undercutting the track’s delicate lead melody line, but it’s still very much a case of less equaling definitively more. Felt a bit like Keanu Reeves logging out of the Matrix when I put my headphones down – proper soundscape artistry.
Lo Shea – ‘Distance’ (Seaghdha)
Lo Shea has just compiled 11 tunes from his Seaghdha 12″ series into a CD release. It’s equal parts House, Techno and Garage, with rugged, distinctly-UK sounds and sampling. All the records are worth buying individually, but for a little taste of this guy’s sound, the CD does nicely.
Rødhåd – ‘Red Rising’ EP (Dystopian)
Rødhåd’s production is getting better with each release, and his DJing is just next level. This EP is trippy and bleepy, with a naughty low end, especially the opening track ‘Helldiver’. Makes me want to lose track of time in a pitch black nightclub.