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Top 10: Circlesquare, Tribe, Mr. Lif

Circlesquare
Songs About Dancing and Drugs
!K7
Release Date: February 17

Jeremy Shaw released the Fight Sounds EP on Trevor Jackson's Output Recordings in 2006. Then the label collapsed and other than a Christmas tune, this quietly restrained canvas of electronics and acoustics is the first we've heard from him since. Shaw stayed busy during the interim making video and visual art, and coming up with lyrics about unanswered questions, uncharted beaches, and burnt bridges. Yes, there are a few about dancing and drugs in here as well.

Telefon Tel Aviv
Immolate Yourself
BPitch Control
Release Date: Out Now

But Shaw wasn't off the radar as long as Josh Eustis and Charlie Cooper, since their latest offering follows up on Map of What is Effortless, released before Facebook's domain name was even registered (2004). Immolate Yourself is their first for Ellen Allien's BPitch Control imprint, and is far grander in sound than previous albums. Hackneyed it may be, I'm going to go ahead and use the word "sweep" for describing what exactly these guys' dense synth arrangements do.

MP3: "The Birds"

Intrusion
The Seduction of Silence
Echospace
Release Date:

As you will surmise from its title, the synths on Stephen Hitchell's new album do not sweep. Nor do they crescendo, crash, or shriek. Hitchell (who also records as Soultek and cv313) has infused dub with techno here, the result being an album quite worthy of its name. The aforementioned synths whisper and tremble in the background, and more than any other instrument, static claims the spotlight on most tracks.

Mr Lif.
I Heard It Today
Self-Release
Release Date: April 21

A good reason to like Mr. Lif these days (aside from the fact that he named his label Bloodbot Tactical) is his lyrical flow on Heard It. It's a troubled world we live in, and the conscious MC and Perceptionists member covers every topic between war and credit crunch on this release. He doesn't even let Obama off the hook for examination. Production help on the album comes from Edan, J-Zone, and several up-and-comers.

Hot Chip with Robert Wyatt and Geese
Hot Chip with Robert Wyatt and Geese
Astralwerks
Release Date: January 27

Electro-pop's busiest band found enough time to enlist experimental psych-prog legend Robert Wyatt for help on what they're calling "a little present for their fans." Wyatt chose three songs from the group's Made in the Dark release, and together, the two parties re-recorded them. This is, obviously, not typical Hot Chip fare, but the boys wear avant-jazz well. Geese contributed a remix to the disc (excuse me, present) as well.

Psychic Ills
Mirror Eye
The Social Registry
Release Date: Out Now

Speaking of albums that should bear the prefix "avant." Psychic Ills are like a jam band that got trapped inside a copy of Ableton Live and just decided to make the most of their situation. An amalgamation of electric guitars and hypnotic electronics, Mirror Eye finds the group reunited after some time off (theme of the week, apparently) and travels through a range of styles and ends with a track that's one long chord. That they chose to name one song "Fingernail Tea" is not the only quirky fact here.

Tribe
Tribe
Community Projects/Planet E
Release Date: Out Now

Called "near perfect" by XLR8R scribe Walter Wasacz, Tribe's latest, self-titled release is proof that this famed jazz collective from Detroit is still capable of compelling compositions. Tribe was always an expressionist act, so those expecting a traditional jazz offering should skip to the next paragraph. The album is solemn in its mood and complex with the arrangement of trumpets, trombones, and saxophones, and techno fans will be happy to hear that Planet E label boss Carl Craig stopped by to lend a synthesizer and produce the disc.

Mike Snow
"Animal (Crookers Remix)"
Download

The good people at RCRD LBL email me and thousands of other folks a new MP3 every morning, and this remix came through the inbox late last week. Mike Snow is a mysterious figure for whom little information exists, but we know Crookers for their French-touch synths and top-shelf remixes. Here, they've added an upbeat, nu-disco flavor to Snow's track.

Various
Freerange Records Colour Series: White 06 Sampler
Freerange
Release Date: March 30

The Freerange crew gathered last year's most well-received tracks from the label's single releases, threw four brand-new tracks in, stirred them all together, and voila! It's the sixth installment of the label's Colour series. This time around, they chose white, and since that color is commonly associated with purity, it's fitting that tracks here are unadulterated, smooth techno tunes. If I still took certain pills that make a person happy and went to giant warehouse parties, this would be the kind of music I'd want to hear.

Bamabounce
"Punch Em In Da Face"
Listen

As noted in the description for this week's podcast, Bamabounce's track starts with an angry guy yelling the line, "Everybody in the club, if you hate someone right now, you need to turn to them and punch them in the fucking face!" Those last three words he repeats for a very long time before some dirty B-more breaks show up and complete the track. Like Mike Snow up there, details on Bamabounce aren’t plentiful, but you don’t need a 10-page bio to enjoy the antics on this track.

Pictured: Jeremy Shaw, a.k.a. Circlesquare

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