Last month we made a trip over to Dam for ADE, rearranged the office and got spooked on Halloween. Thankfully for you we also found time to listen to a lot of great music – some of which you can check out below. Read on for UK Techno tandems, Boston Deep House and Grammy winning Soul…
Bruce & Kowton – ‘Late Again’ (Unreleased)
Two of the most exciting producers of 2014 have recently joined forces – Kowton premiered two of their tracks on one of his recent NTS shows. On the rip of ‘Late Again’, Radio Slave’s ‘Don’t Stop No Sleep’ weaves into a fist-pump moment as their obnoxious syncopated bass line meanders a rigid drum track. It’s got that stop-start shuffle that we heard from Bruce in his debut ‘Tilikum’ and Kowton’s punch on top. Here’s hoping it sees a release soon…
Dorian Concept – ‘Ann River, Mn’ (Ninja Tune)
Oliver Johnson aka Dorian Concept’s second album ‘Joined Ends’ is one of my favourite LPs of this year. The Austrian has come a long way from his first MicroKorg experiments on YouTube and the record is a wonderfully emotive journey. Overly soppy at times, as ‘Ann River, Mn’ shows, but I’m a sucker for it. Johnson takes a short melodic motif with a cheesy chord sequence and colours it in vibrant electronic shades.
John Barera & Will Martin – ‘Afterthought’ (Dolly)
When we spoke to these two Boston based producers at the start of last month, they spoke of their hatred for loop-based electronic music – and you can definitely hear this on ‘Graceless’, their debut album for Panonrama Bar resident Steffi’s Dolly imprint. A strong case in point is ‘Afterthought’, a cut which uses familiar Deep House tropes whilst eschewing the rigid repetition that makes so much of the genre regrettably formulaic. Anchored by an earwormiy funky b-line, Barera and Martin lay on stabs of digitized piano chords and swooning synthesized strings as ‘Afterthought’ progresses engagingly to the middle of the floor.
Shafiq Husayn featuring Anderson Paak – ‘It’s Better For You’ (Eglo)
Eglo have backed a winner once again with this release from perenially soulful Grammy winner Shafiq Husayn (of SA-RA fame). The American producer has been milling about with the label and its extended crew for a while now, showing up on production duties for Fatima’s ‘Yellow Memories’ earlier in the year with the double bass powered Jazz stylings of ‘Circle’. Here Husayn make his official Eglo bow with three tracks that serve as a taster from his forthcoming ‘The L∞P’ album, which is set to see him collaborating with the likes of Thundercat, Miguel Atwood Ferguson and others. ‘Its Better For You’ is my favourite from the EP, with Husayn’s more fulsome baritone contrasting smartly with Anderson Paak’s (formerly Breezy Jovejoy) D’Angelo referencing falsetto on a track that exudes effortless smoothness with every note.
Shriekin – ‘Temple 2’ (Local Action)
Found it hard to single out one track from Shriekin’s Local Action debut but I could imagine ‘Temple 2’ as alternative load-up screen music to Spyro: Year Of The Dragon – a bit like to Zane Lowe’s ‘Drive’ re-score for the BBC but not shit. More glossy, sickly-sweet melodies than you can shake a stick at, bags of greazy reverb and bonkers programming probably sums it up most succinctly but Shriekin’s mad genius amounts to far more than any weird comparisons I can draw. Honestly brilliant.
Mike G – ‘Limestone’ (Heterotopia Compilation – Astral Plane)
A de-constructed square wave apocalypse of sorts from Mike G that I’ve had on loop for a good few weeks. You could draw comparisons with someone like Rabit in terms of it’s structure, but ‘Limestone’ sidesteps the symbolistic, emotional aesthetic that lots of more recent experimental grime cuts seem to tamper with in favour of pure hoods up, gun-finger kudos. ‘Un-danceable bollocks’ at it’s best.
Harvey Sutherland – ‘Bamboo’ (Voyage)
In keeping with name of the Melbourne label on which it lands, Harvey Sutherland’s ‘Brothers’ EP is a slinky sub-aquatic odyssey through the turquoise blue backwaters of a planet far far away. Sutherland helms an amphibious vessel controlled by a variety of classic Juno synthesisers, allowing for easy comparisons with the sounds of Lindstrøm and Todd Terje or Max Graef, Glenn Astro and the Tartelet crew. ‘Bamboo’ stands out as an unadulterated slab of Space Funk but the release is golden in it’s entirety. Don’t sleep.
Romare – ‘Roots’ (Ninja Tune)
The phat infectious melody on Romare’s latest work chugs along like a large body passing through the earth. Organic percussion elements have been polished to a point of perfection. We break free from the depths in the second half of this eight minute groover and emerge into a tropical paradise, stunned by an overwhelming array of light. If this is anything to go by his ‘Roots’ EP is going to be a corker and 2015 will belong to him his with a debut album due in February.
Anxur – ‘The Anxur Takes Vol.1’ (Eerie)
The Italian Masters in the art-world are renowned for some of the finest paintings created and synonymous with fresco’s and canvas, but most certainly not Techno. Comparatively Donato Dozzy and Marco Shuttle’s new project, Anxur, has nothing to do with painting. The ‘Professor’, Dozzy and Eerie label-boss Shuttle pair up to create a release that adds to a relentless string of quality. An adventurous and space-age feeling on this one, defined by dark twists and turns, a smattering of caustic kicks and plenty of murky, underwater atmosphere.
Tuff City Kids – ‘Parallel Forest’ EP (Internasjonal)
Many hands make light work, but in the capable hands of Running Back/Brontosaurus bosses Gerd Janson and Philip Lauer, the work is made to look like a walk in the park. As Tuff City Kids they have created a wonderfully balanced EP of synth-led jams that drift just left of leftfield House. The release is brilliantly 80’s electro in parts and silky smooth after-hours in others. That sinister feel on PF4 is something else though. I’m not selling this on 12”, but if I was then this would be my TIP! To give the A1 a listen check out Gerd Janson’s recent appearance on Tim Sweeney’s ‘Beats In Space’ above from around 47 minutes in.