There’s been festivals, club nights and day parties everywhere you care to look over the last month – but thankfully that hasn’t stopped the unrelenting tide of quality electronic music. With our usual round up of the best of the month, the Hyponik team bring you dirty Detroit Techno, blissful Vancouver House, RnG edits and much, much more…
Manuel Gonzales – ‘Filth’ EP (Wicked Bass)
More grit from Detroit’s Manuel Gonzales, AKA MGUN, in this aptly named EP. I’ve grown a little tired of the lo-fi aesthetic that’s become rife these days, but when it’s done as well as this, it seems a little silly to complain.
A frenetic start to opener ‘Mono Port’ eventually melts away into a slightly more hypnotic number, with clumsily plodding kicks pulsing deep below soaring pads. The trance is soon broken though, with the bass growls of ‘Frosted Lakes’, which borders on Dance Mania-esque frivolities and constitutes my pick of the bunch. ‘Chip Implemented’ does a pretty good job of bringing Berghain to the Motor City too, with flickering bleeps skittering fleetingly over a pounding low-end to induce paranoia on the dancefloor no doubt.
Various Artists – ‘CY001’ (Contort Yourself)
Things get off to a fairly foreboding start with cataclysmic Acid in the shape of debutant Parrish Smith’s ‘Revolution Will Always Be Televised’ and, after a fairly iffy second track from Helena Hauff, the mood doesn’t change too much.
Pankow offer the undoubted highlight with ‘Das Vodkalied’, from back in ’83. It does a great job of aping the brute force of Throbbing Gristle’s ‘Discipline’, whilst ‘I’m Food For You’ provides another slice of slightly out-there industrial Post-Punk.
Perseus Traxx rounds of the EP nicely with a brooding 303 lead providing a skeletal backdrop to a fairy dour monologue. One for those still skulking around the darkest corner of the club at 5am. All in all a promising start to new label Contort Yourself.
Demdike Stare – ‘Past Majesty’ (Modern Love)
Miles Whittaker (aka MLZ) and Sean Canty who make up the evil Dub-Techno alliance of Demdike Stare, continue to shock and wow the crowds on this, their latest release through Modern Love Records. Unless you’re like me and skin-crawling music is like crack to the ears, ‘Past Majesty’ is probably the last track you want to hear on a Monday morning. With an electric guitar sample worthy of Trent Reznor’s nightmares and ritual style drum sounds looped over what I’m sure is the sound of a photocopier; it makes for a bizarre yet unforgettable arrangement of music. Weirder still, is that this is at the more approachable end of material Demdike Stare have made publicly available thus far.
The Maghreban – Amok Time (Zoot)
The Maghreban has made his return this July with Amok Time- a radial exploration of sonics spanning over six and a half minutes, fuelled by German techno and 90’s hardcore. Pushed by Zoot records (the small but ever relevant masters of the preternatural), the piece starts with what sounds like a laser cannon being blasted through space before the calamity of a full forced inter-galactic battle commences through means of shoulder thumping bass lines and robotic snares. To me, the most outstanding cut from any of the producers line of work to date.
DeWalta – ‘Illumination (Part 1)’ (Meander)
Meander return with another mysterious package straight from Berlin (or “another planet”, as the press release suggests). This time it’s a double album from DeWalta himself, though part 1 sticks out as the most memorable for me. ‘Illuminated’ is a playful intro track, which takes a number of twists and turns through sharp snares, puzzling cymbal crashes and a killer vocal sample. It’s on more of a Microhouse tip before the album takes a darker turn, and it’s probably also the highlight for me. ‘Entangled’ sounds more like something Thomas Melchior would’ve produced than anything I’ve heard from DeWalta before, but that’s only a testament to its quality. ‘Silhouette’ is a piece of deep, hypnotic Techno, which uses somber voices and a tough hi-hat in the crescendo. Slow-burning, dark and disconcerting, this isn’t for everyone, but then that’s never been part of Meander’s philosophy.
Nail – ‘Lost Trax 1997’ (Shabby Doll)
Classic Deep House from Nail, recovered only now by Shabby Doll co-founder Matt Swift. Any fan of 90’s House would want these tracks in their collection, although for me side 4 is the most exciting part of the album. ‘90% Down & Shit’ is a cosmic one, while on ‘Just Can’t Make My Mind’ Nail achieves the impossible task of bringing a Disco vibe to a Deep House number. ‘Nerangus’ is also worth checking for its delectable flute line, while the smooth saxophone on ‘In the Pocket’ takes me to another place altogether. Sensual stuff.
Dario Zenker – ‘Mörsin’ EP (Trilogy Tapes)
As good as any breaks-driven Techno records released of late (there have been a fair few). This one varies from straight, ravey banger to sludgy weirdness. The artwork is pretty amazing too.
Lowtec – ‘020’ (Workshop)
Lowtec somehow manages to make slow House music sound badass. Crisp and spaced-out, a perfect example of the Workshop sound.
Jack J – ‘Something (On My Mind)’ (Mood Hut)
Jack Juston of Pender Street Steppers makes his first foray into solo work with this forthcoming outing on Mood Hut, although this is more of the same dewy eyed House music bliss. Bookending PSS’ Boiler Room showcase a few months back, ‘Something (On My Mind)’ rolls along for ten gloriously uneventful but beautiful minutes thanks mainly to the soft loop of one of the year’s most earwormy basslines. Garnished with sunset sax, intermittent guitar and unfussy drums, this is the surefire soundtrack to a thousand early morning dancefloor embraces.
Max Graef & Mic Newman present Real Dubz – ‘Relain’ At The Flip’ (Love Fever)
Flying off the shelves upon release, this Melbourne meet Berlin collaboration is the hottest offering from Love Fever since Bicep’s sleaze Garage bomb ‘$tripper’. Tough kicks and busy 606 hats signal that we’re in analogue banger territory from the offset, but as ever with these two its the additional touches that bring home the proverbial bacon. Breaking down mid track, the pair lay on supremely classy licks of Jazz piano, later adding to this with sparkling lashings of arpeggiated synth. Refined but raw, the whole release is a classic juxtaposition of rough and smooth from two young bucks on a roll.
Finn – ‘Keep Calling’ (Local Action)
Another Boxed anthem and one that more than deserves the acclaim. Often responsible for causing impromptu madness on many a dance floor including most recently at the Boxed Boiler Room session, Finn’s ‘Keep Calling’ captures the undeniable infectiousness of classic RnB vocals in a 140bpm, grimecentric context. There’s nothing particularly complex on offer but sometimes there doesn’t need to be – the reactions in the club say it all. Percy.
Gundam – ‘Lovers Cuts’ EP ( via Bandcamp)
Gundam’s made quite a name for himself turning his hand to refixing Grime and RnB classics since the turn of the year and his debut collection of paywhatyoulike tracks is a testament to how bloody good he is at doing it. Whilst he can be tempted to go all out chop & screw on bootlegs like Boxed favourite ‘Southside Warriors’, here he demonstrates a more measured compositional approach. Richer, less frenetic sounds, a tighter focus on melody rearrangements and great track selection make ‘Lovers Cuts’ a really listenable, cohesive EP. Worth downloading for the edits of Sadie Ama’s ‘Fallin’ alone.
Dorian Concept – Draft Culture (Ninja Tune)
Vienna born, Australia based composer Oliver Thomas Johnson blends free Jazz, Hip Hop and electronic beats. Improvising live he can play just about every instrument imaginable, but the piano remains at the core of his workflow. He’s toured with Flying Lotus as a keyboarder and being a scholar in the truest sense of the word, his stage name is an adaptation of the ‘Dorian mode’ the diatonic piano scale that spans the white keys from D & D. Emotive & raw ‘Draft Culture’ appeared at the beginning of the month alongside the announcement of ‘Joint Ends’ his sophomore LP which will drop on Ninja Tune in September. Dreamy jingles, hypnotic synth lines and punch-heavy bass are multi-layered to form the freshest shuffle i’ve heard all year.
Kowton – Glock & Roll (White Label)
Ripped straight from Joy Orbison’s Essential Mix, this melodic white label cut from Livity Sound mainstay Kowton is straight-up mesmerising. The masterful drum programming reels you in, while those low-key vocals work wonders for the synapses and the bell staggered throughout are simply lush. The track rolls in it’s entirety, but it’s the breakdown around the two-minute point where one can visualise an entire room loosing their shit together in unison. Definitive sounds of the UK circa 2014…
Paul White – ‘Honey Cats’ (R&S)
After 6 years of releasing on One-Handed Music, Paul White puts down his sampler and bursts through a new door as a multi-instrumentalist, singer and song-writer for the legendary R&S Records. An interesting move for the label that makes more sense the longer you sit on it and the more times you listen to this meditative slice of LSD-doused electronic blues. He calls it “60s opium music”. The album soon come.
Claude Speeed – ‘My Skeleton’ (LuckyMe)
Stuart Turner cut his teeth as a musician with Rock bands such as Degrassi, Russia and American Men and was also a participant in the 2011 Red Bull Music Academy in Madrid. He is a figure considered to have had an intimate influence on the LuckyMe label, the imprint who have just who just put out his debut album ‘My Skeleton’. The record is a wonderfully immersive experience that was partly informed whilst he travelled the world, with Speeed now culminating his love of Post Rock, Electronica, Contemporary Classical, Metal & Drone into one woozy melting pot.
After you’ve listened to the album, be sure to give this mixtape a spin.