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Review: Ben Sims Fabric 73

Label: Fabric

There's something reassuringly upfront about Ben Sims. Refusing to raise his head above the parapet of underground techno for two decades or so, the Theory Recordings boss approaches the booth with principles based upon hip-hop turntablism and showmanship, only they've been read through a distinctly muscular club lens. Of course, the sledgehammer-solid, nigh-on banging, and occasionally manic end of techno has been receiving plenty of attention in the last year or so, with Blawan's rise to stardom (which has been fueled in part by his collaborative Karenn and Trade projects) and the music being turned out by key figures like Objekt. As such, Sims' long-awaited entry into the Fabric mix series couldn't have come at a better time in terms of public interest. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 12/04/2013

Review: Visionist "M" b/w "Secrets"

Label: RAMP

South London producer Louis Carnell (a.k.a. Visionist) has released a deluge of EPs and singles this year, and this latest effort marks his debut for the long-running RAMP imprint. "M" b/w "Secrets" continues his foreboding line of stripped-down bass sounds, but also finds the UK artist tightening up his production technique without deviating far from his established formula. In a brief nine minutes, Carnell's self-assured, minimal pair of cuts presents itself with little fanfare, but the release is still a worthy complement to September's I'm Fine EP. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 12/04/2013

Review: Egyptrixx A/B Til Infinity

The sole Canadian representative of the increasingly international Night Slugs contingent, Egyptrixx (a.k.a. David Psutka) has followed up his ambitious 2011 debut album, Bible Eyes, with the equally inventive A/B Til Infinity. Psutka's work as Egyptrixx has always operated with a slightly unconventional approach to club music, but the woozy synths and atmospheric tendencies of his debut album nonethless complemented Night Slugs' dystopian, experimental reconfigurations of dance-music tropes. A/B Til Infinity largely moves things further away from the dancefloor, with nine tracks and very few kick drums to be found on any of them. Egyptrixx's excellently weird recent mix for Night Slugs' ongoing podcast series signaled the producer's interest in exploring noise and texture as elements on an equal footing with the rawest, most stripped-back club beats, and that tendency has held firm with A/B Til Infinity's multi-dimensional, surface-oriented techno. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 12/03/2013

Review: Fantastic Man
 Heartbreaker

Although they haven't gotten as much attention as the records under his own name, Melbourne's Mic Newman has been releasing tracks under the Fantastic Man alias since 2010. Heartbreaker, his latest EP under that banner, is not too far removed from what one expects of Newman—its three originals offer deeper tracks with inflections from old-school house and '80s boogie, with dashes of vocals for good measure. It's not an especially daring EP, but even hardened house heads will find bits to latch onto. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 12/03/2013

Review: Akkord Akkord

Pick

As far as bass music goes, one would be hard pressed to find a more accessible producer than Synkro (a.k.a. Joe McBride). The Manchester producer's last solo release was called Acceptance and bore the implications of the title out in swooning, heartbroken melodies and the blush of nylon-string guitars and detailed, inventive drum programming. McBride has shown that he's also capable of the steeliest techno vibes as one half of Akkord—his collaborative project with fellow Manchester resident Indigo (a.k.a. Liam Blackburn)—without giving up the core accessibility and inventiveness that define his approach. Techno—of the scrappy, metallic variety—is in vogue thanks to labels like L.I.E.S., but Akkord's take is unique. Although the duo gets a lot of mileage out of fractured, jagged samples for its drum hits, the vibe here is more Consumed/Closer-era Plastikman than, say, Unit Moebius, with tracks patiently coalescing around towering rhythmic riffs. There are no real melodies to speak of, and yet Akkord is an especially articulate album, one that offers a series of wintry industrial scenes that fade into each other with growing urgency. If this is techno, it's the genre at its least monolithic. At every turn, Akkord pushes against the grain of the 4/4 grid, laying heavy swing over the otherwise straightforward stomp of "3dOS" or flirting with 2562/Demdike Stare territory on the eerie fourth-world invocation "Smoke Circle." Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 12/02/2013

Review: Fis Preparations EP

Label: Tri Angle

Having previously gained a little bit of attention for his "DMT Usher" single, which saw release last year via Samurai Music, the New Zealand-based Fis (a.k.a. Olly Peryman) has retreated further from his already idiosyncratic vision of drum & bass with his recent Homologous EP for Void Coms and Preparations, his debut release for Tri Angle. The four-track EP presents listeners with some seriously murky skeletal sketches of tunes, which bear only a passing resemblance to the sort of drum & bass that most people are familiar with. Defined by abstract textures, a unique rhythmic sensibility, and deep, ominous bass, the Preparations EP is a release with an eerie, claustrophobic intensity. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 12/02/2013

Review: Jacques Renault Got to Believe

The third and latest offering for Let's Play House's one-sided white-label series comes from its co-owner Jacques Renault, following efforts by Waze & Odyssey and Urulu. Like much of the label's catalog, "Got to Believe
" offers an update on tried-and-true, garage-leaning, early-to-mid-'90s-house motifs. Coupled with its runtime of around seven minutes, it's hardly the kind of weird or epic piece one associates with its quick-shot release format, but it does show Renault in typically decent form. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/27/2013

Review: Bicep Satisfy

London-via-Belfast production duo Bicep has proven itself to be more than capable of churning out classically minded dancefloor stunners—its sultry 2012 single "$tripper" perfectly paired a carefree, blissful attitude with an old-school Jersey garage sound, while "Vision of Love" exhubertantly channeled the spirit of '90s diva-house anthems. More recently, the pair has collaborated with Simian Mobile Disco on the melody-driven "Sacrifice" and dropped the diverse Stash EP. Now, Bicep has delivered Satisfy, a similarly varied three-track release for via its own Feel My Bicep imprint. According to the producers themselves, the record finds them taking a darker, more synth-oriented approach. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/27/2013

Review: Âme Tatischeff EP

As part owners of Innervisions, Âme's musical taste is irrevocably ingrained in the DNA of the Berlin-based imprint. Alongside co-owner Dixon, Âme's Kristian Beyer and Frank Wiedemann have taken great care to craft their label's aesthetic. For these three, that comes with a degree of meticulous consistency that extends from the packaging to the music itself. A similar approach is taken when it comes to Âme, as Beyer and Wiedemann keep their output to a scant one or two releases each year; in short, they're not the kinds of producers who slouch on craftsmanship, a fact that is readily backed up by both entries on the duo's new Tatischeff EP. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/27/2013

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