XLR8R - logo



Review: Barnt Magazine 13

Label: Magazine

The music of Barnt (a.k.a. Daniel Ansorge) lies on a volatile faultline between melancholy and ecstasy. For instance, his most recent EP for Hinge Finger, His Name, features a track ("Under His Own Name but Also as Sir") that succinctly captures how the contradictions of light and dark can effectively be manipulated without diluting either element. On his debut album, Magazine 13, the Cologne-based producer has carried on in a similar fashion. Barnt cuts his tracks with big, rustic tools: a bass drum, ashen hi-hats and cymbals, and an unruly synth pitched high above the percussive fray that, when it comes to a fork in the road, will usually take neither path and will instead wander off somewhere else entirely. If that sounds like it could get formulaic quickly, then it's a credit to Barnt's imagination that the music never does. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/26/2014

Review: Lawrence A Day in the Life

Label: Mule Musiq

Anyone who has followed Lawrence (a.k.a. Peter M. Kersten) over the course of his career will know that the Dial boss has a passion for ambient and modern classical. All his albums to date have been infused with beatless, rippling segues, and even his kick-driven house tracks have often been riddled with ambient details, proper chords, and supple synths. As such, his sixth full length—and second on Mule—A Day In The Life, is surely the one he has been working towards since day one, because it's an immersive, fully ambient affair with nary a kick drum in sight. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/25/2014

Review: Steffi Power of Anonymity

Label: Ostgut Ton

Where Steffi's debut album, Yours & Mine, was a misty, nostalgic, and Chicago house-referencing affair, her sophomore LP, Power of Anonymity, seems much more indebted to the sci-fi techno of Detroit's Underground Resistance. Along with IDM and electro, it's the self-confessed music of the Dolly boss' roots, and it makes for an album unapologetically full of floor-facing tracks. Much like one of her famed DJ sets, though, it is also dynamic enough to keep listeners on their toes. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/24/2014

Review: The Cyclist Flourish

Label: All City

Although he debuted in 2011 with the Bending Brass cassette, Irish producer The Cyclist (a.k.a. Andrew Morrison) probably made most of his fans with its follow-up, last year's Bones in Motion, an album that appeared right when peoples' appetite for lo-fi dance music was at its peak. Since then, Morrison has filled in the interim with a track on a compilation EP and a 12" in a boogie-influenced style under the name Buz Ludzha, but now, he's properly returned with Flourish, his sophomore LP. A heavily saturated, amorphous set of rave-referencing house tracks, it's unlikely to disappoint anyone too much. Given Morrison's prolific work rate, not to mention with his signature corroded production style, he could potentially be slotted into the same lineage of producers as artists like Legowelt, Ceephax Acid Crew, or DMX Krew—cult acts who jam out hundreds of tracks, sometimes striking gold but perhaps just as often releasing entire albums of sketches or failed attempts. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/19/2014

Review: Andy Stott Faith in Strangers

The first seven minutes of Faith in Strangers are as still as a December morning. Andy Stott's last two EPs and his second album, Luxury Problems, began, after a brief time, with the crank of a handle and the coal-hungry chug of a monstrous Victorian factory machine; this time, the Manchester producer's third album arrives not with the clanking of sledgehammers, but with the cleansing sound of cold midnight air. On "Time Away," a solemn euphonium horn calls out to the listener like a cargo ship returning to a remote harbor. "Who is talking, who is crouching," asks Alison Skidmore (Stott's former piano teacher turned vocal contributor) on the following track, "Violence," which begins with a shrill flare of modular noise and soft, cooing synth pads. Skidmore's lullaby, by turns erotic and menacing, stands alone and uncertain at first amid these bare elements, but it grows more assertive as the lumbering drums of "Violence" sputter into motion. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/18/2014

Review: Machinedrum Vapor City Archives

Label: Ninja Tune

Travis Stewart (a.k.a Machinedrum) really knows how to milk a concept. Last September, he released the excellent Vapor City LP, which found a sultry balance between jungle, hip-hop, and melodic ambience. Based on an imaginary city from Stewart's dreams, the loose theme didn't really seem to affect the listening experience, but it did provide a narrative for his future output. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/17/2014

Review: Neel Phobos

Neel (a.k.a. Giuseppe Tillieci) is an Italian producer, DJ, and mastering engineer, not to mention one-half of the vaunted Voices from the Lake project alongside Donato Dozzy. For that group, originally conceived for a live set at Japan's deep techno mecca, Labyrinth, Neel has referred to his duties as "[making] sure our music sounds the best it possibly can." Indeed, the young Italian is said to have a golden ear, having mastered records for Morphine, Prologue, and other serious techno imprints. Still, we haven't yet seen Tillieci lay out his own vision prior to the arrival of the startlingly ambitious Phobos. It's his first full-length, and it finds Neel presenting an epic collection of dense ambient textures, a slowly unfurling space story for the modern hi-fi enthusiast. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/14/2014

Review: Anthony Parasole My Block

Label: Ostgut Ton

A typical Anthony Parasole record has a casual relationship with euphoria. That's not to say that they don't carry a certain euphoric quality, but in the three years that Parasole has put out music, it's become clear that it's the rough, rambling terrain leading up to the moment of release—and not the moment itself—that gives his imposing house/techno hybrids their pulse. On My Block, Parasole's debut EP for Ostgut Ton and his fourth solo release, the layers of his production creep onto each other with a genuine disregard for tension and release. As such, the terrain of My Block's three tracks is relatively flat, trading steep gradients for steady inclines and creating a ruthlessly hypnotic experience in the process. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/13/2014

Review: Torn Hawk Let's Cry and Do Pushups at the Same Time

Is Torn Hawk (a.k.a. Luke Wyatt) serious? This is a fair question of a producer who has given us tracks like "Put That Crotchless Thing on and Save My Life," and now, an album with an equally ridiculous name, Let's Cry and Do Pushups at the Same Time. There is a theme of corroded masculinity at the heart of Wyatt's work, both as a video artist and apparent body sculptor. In images, he often subverts his good looks with a bit of VHS glitch. On Let's Cry, he attempts to do something similar with his music, imbuing what is essentially melodic post rock with some busted percussion and slightly outsider moves. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/12/2014

Follow us on...

Get the lowdown weekly newsletter

XLR8R Downloads Player