In the release calendar, spring is a time when future anthems for the barbeques, festivals and open air terraces are made. This April proved to be fertile ground for these kinds of tracks, with floor fillers aplenty – although there was also plenty to cater for those after something a little different. Experimental Droning, Techno/Afrobeat crossovers and flute powered Deep House all cropped up last month in addition to a raft of fist pumpers, and as you can see below, our writers were once again on hand to help you find the cream of the crop…
For subconscious reasons which we can neither explain nor justify, this was a track we had instinctively disliked before even hearing, but, once the Rinse FM rip surfaced, those inhibitions soon went out the window. Hudson Mohawke has been paving the transitory way between Skwee and Trap for eight or so years now, and very few are strangers to his collaborative success with big names in the Electronic and Hip Hop worlds. ‘Ryderz’ has shown us that, in between Apple commercials and Twitter beef, HudMo still makes time to create his own music – and a well produced, hype-conjuring track at that. ‘Ryderz’ has won us over, and greatened our intrigue towards the forthcoming album.
Minimal Techno master Ricardo Villalobos and longtime collaborative producer Max Loderbauer have reignited their partnership by picking up where their 2011 album of Jazz/Classical reworks for ECM Records had left off. This time, it’s with a track taken from Tony Allen’s ‘Film of Life’, an album which successfully brought Afrobeat into a modern-day idiom. This track has now been given a further lease of life from the remixers at work. The soul of ‘African Man’ is resurrected masterfully with the additions of a bouncing bass line and modular synth, with the original version’s character still respectfully in tact, thus demonstrating the fine tuning of both Villalobos and Loderbauer’s craft.
That ‘Barter 6’ – the dubiously titled debut album ‘proper’ from perma high Atlanta rapper Young Thug, was inconsistent to say the least, is perhaps one of the most unsurprising developments of 2015 thus far. Nonetheless the record has its moments – particularly opener ‘Constantly Hating’, a track anchored by a gargantuan low end which trundles through sizzurp heavy quicksand as faint melodies float atop. Unique at the worst of times, here Thugger is nothing short of remarkable – reigning his trademark tourettes flavoured adlibs in favour of an almost whispered first verse, punctuated only by his warbled declaration to that him and his crew are, ‘not friendly either’. Lyrically, he comes through with a handful of absurdist nuggets of gold – ‘I am a beast, I’m so obese’, being a personal favourite, whilst the mere fact that musical kryptonite Birdman somehow doesn’t drag down the tune is a miracle unto itself.
Taking the name game very seriously, Drew Lustman eschewing his more well known Falty DL alias in favour of his given name for last month’s Planet Mu LP ‘The Crystal Cowboy’ is a choice that can be genuinely heard on the record as well as seen on it’s sleeve. Ditching the brilliant but often confounding abstractions of previous album ‘In The Wild‘, Lustman’s Anglophilic tendencies return to the fore on his latest effort – a vibrant interpretation of the Hardcore continuum. An unabashedly ‘fun’ record, my pick of the bunch is ‘Time Machine’ – in which we ride a chord progression and a Jungle break through every single possibility – each one more entertaining than the last. Pinballing between the simmering Jazz of early Bukem to the eye ball bursting serotonin rush of Manix, this is cleverly handled joyous nostalgia in the vein of Paul Woolford’s Special Request project.
Wen comes correct to Tectonic with the ‘Finesse’ EP, delivering three stylish dancefloor burners for Pinch’s imprint, who’s influence is difficult to deny. The title track could be the highlight, balancing spacious percussion with crisp vocal chops and a powerful low-end. Definitely feeling the aqueous vibe on this one. Killer record all around.
One for the ages here from the Pender Street Steppers, slowing things down with this ode to Vancouver Vietnamese restaurant ‘Golden Garden’. Rich in mystery, that flute line goes deep into the night. The brighter A-side track ‘The Glass City’ also delights – definitely a must to pick up this record if its still available. Mood Hut hitting their stride in a big way.
Artsy music for the more daring electronic music fan. This is a full on droney dread inducing cover of a seminal 70’s work of American minimalism where the musician repeatedly plays a note first quietly then loudly then quietly – sort of… Whilst many may call no clothes at this emperor, appreciation of this music can be found in Rrose’s highly technical realisation of the work which is as meditative as it is moody.
Despite the angst inducing name this most recent LP delivers on a comforting mix of Post Rock mellowness and arpeggiated Synth Pop bliss. Other than a slightly off message vocal track the entire release feels like a welcome return to 90’s downtempo albums with ambitions higher than the bargin-bin new age snore section. Recommended for fans of a noisier brand of Ambient music.
Dynooo – ‘FOH’ (Unreleased)
Sometime Astro:Dynamics producer and smoked-out Belgian Dynooo occasionally drops some really very beautiful music on the internet, then disappears into the ether like it’s not even a thing. Frustratingly sparse in terms of output, his remix of post-Sadboy artist Torus a couple of years back was a bit of an early morning heavy ambient earworm, whilst here he strips things back to no more than a handful of elements, concentrating on echoed piano notes and clipped R&B voices to create a clean-cut, bleached-out atmosphere. Strangely beguiling and intriguingly sad in equal measure.
Continuing exactly where they left off three years ago, the LHF crew return with four tracks of ‘nuum-spanning sound system signals on Dusk & Blackdown’s perennially on point Keysound label. More specifically, this latest transmission sees Double Helix unearth some classic wordplay from UK legends The Ragga Twins, allowing the pair’s effortless lyricism to flow over a mixture of dark Garage, golden era Dubstep and deconstructed ’92 Rave influences. Sitting somewhere between classic Nu-Matic and their own ‘Mad Sick’ from a few years back, this is one for the heads-down crew.
West Side Chicago duo Sicko Mobb, emit the antithesis of the ominous Drill sound that emerged from the city’s South Side shortly after the turn of the decade. Though comparisons can be made between the two genres, Bop, the hyper active and syrupy party music. is as much an offshoot of Juke and Footwork as it is Drill. Whilst the rhythms and accompanying dance are not as complex as that of Footwork, the vocal delivery and melodies are in a league of their own in terms of sheer catchiness. On ‘Drugs In Me’ the Mobb gratify our desires for a hook that can be chanted repeatedly in the house party or ‘Fiesta’ – the auto-tuned refrain resembles a nursery rhyme, whilst the drug-heavy subject matter couldn’t be any more distant to that of the playground. Trap snares skitter atop bubble gum synths that sound like they’re ready to burst into a kaleidoscopic haze over the giddy universe that Trav and Ceno conjure on mixtape ‘Super Saiyan Volume 2’.
Shlohmo and the WeDidIt family excel at creating the sort of crimson candle-lit atmosphere that suggests romance and themes more sinister, so it’s no surprise they picked up on Portuguese-born producer and vocalist Purple. He slots perfectly into the collective’s model – the merging of gothic gloominess within a wider Hip-Hop/Bass context manifests on ‘Never Come Back’ on forthcoming album ‘Silence and Remorse’.
Purple takes on the role of rejected lover, scrutinising himself with a ghostly wail – ‘what does he have that I don’t?’ – like the protagonist in some twisted theatre tragedy. Grainy reverb pushes creaking samples across the stereo image whilst hi-hats flicker in the peripheries like crickets at night, as if they are Purple’s only companions. It may seem dramatic, but it sure makes for a satisfying late night listen.
Tracks for later on in the evening from the House off-shoot of Killekill – a base usually reserved for the aforementioned mood/grit. This revivalist EP uncovers two previously unreleased gems from the early-90’s Manchester scene. ‘Fat Laces’ says it all, these two tracks are perfect ‘Rave’ material and are primed for making feet move – those summer ‘pheeling’s’ can keep coming (sorry, had to).
More Meme-House from the mysterious animal-based artist/label/mammal (who knows?). Amongst a lot of moody, gritty music that’s been pumped out over the last few months, it’s quite refreshing to hear music that doesn’t take itself too seriously; although that said this release offers some serious heat. A medley of groovy, bumpy rides and classy, soulful House this goes quite nicely with recent warm weather we’ve had of late and sets things up for summer.