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Review: Jason Lescalleet Mattresslessness

Label: C

This first full-length from New Englander Jason Lescalleet is a stunning example of sonic shapeshifting. All but one track on this excellent disc is ostensibly an homage to a pair of artists. For example, the grainy, droning opener is dedicated to Portuguese guitarist Rafael Toral and sound artist John Hudak; the static-filled "Underscore" to lowercase adherents Taylor Deupree and Francisco Lopez; the abrasive, ear-cleansing "Straight No Chaser" to noiseniks Ron Lessard and Graham Lambkin, and so forth. Read more » 

Review: Mateo & Matos Enter Our World

Label: Glasgow Underground

This enigmatic duo has done some notable work in their time, including the now classic "New York Style," which still mashes up deep house and tech-house dance floors some five years later. Instead of proffering pastiches of Afrobeat rhythms, they take the sound that so heavily influences them and injects a New York-centric vibe, which makes for some heady dance-floor fodder. Enter Our World is no exception. Sure, it has a little bit of fat that could be trimmed here and there, but overall, it's a seismic, rump-shaking collection of top-notch funkiness. Read more » 

Review: Accelera Deck Echo Economy

Label: Toast and Jam

This Accelera Deck re-release feels like a series of still-lifes of rusty scraps of crumpled metal, each portrait a slight variation on another, threaded together into animation. Its abruptness is a distinct departure from other Accelera Deck works in which sheets of delicate ambience unroll on top of tiny, skittering beats. "&loop2" is a garbage-can tumble, and "&loop3" features a controlled and measured clock ticking while a rumbling chaos churns at the edges of earshot. Read more » 

Review: Electric Company It's Hard to Be a Baby

Label: Tigerbeat6

The words "Tigerbeat6" and "mature" rarely find themselves in close proximity. And though there's plenty of wit, whimsy and DSP-fuckery to be found on It's Hard To Be A Baby, Brad Laner seems to suggest they aren't mutually exclusive concepts. It's Hard finds a comfy resting place between Mego and Mille Plateaux. "The Lifestyle" sounds like Joe Boyd's string arrangements for Nick Drake as produced by Cex. "A Good Top Tongue" slips in like DAT Politics cutting up Timbaland and Stephan Mathieu. Read more » 

Review: Talib Kweli Get By

Label: Rawkus

Think conscious rap is dead? Let Kweli take you to church on this one. Over producer Kanye West's beautiful-yet-bumpin' piano loop and a sample of Nina Simone's "Sinnerman," Kweli spits human, heartfelt verses about modern-day pitfalls and struggles. He pulls it off not by preaching, but by praying with you. Can I get an "amen"? Read more » 

Review: Cunninlynguists Southernunderground

Label: Freshches

The word "ruthless" might be common coin in descriptions of Southern underground rap, which is known for pungent, whiskey-sluiced rhymes and gravelly beats. While Cunninlynguists exalt the swampy sounds of their homeland, their second LP lapses into more groove-driven boom-bap overlaid with strings, blues contralto samples and melancholy piano. Rhymes oscillate from buoyant MC prattle about Cadillac grilles-as in their infectious homage track for "The South"-to angst-riddled soliloquies about the creeping hand of war. Read more » 

Review: Hyper Catnip

Label: Acetate

The truth is out there: Trance is really an alien lifeform that covertly inhabits a host and takes it over until its original form is barely recognizable. As international DJ sensation Hyper needs no introduction, this first solo release is bound for success. With "Catnip," Hyper's refined an intriguing hybrid. A 4/4 remix by Noel Sanger is included on the flip: is this progressive house or trance? Is there a difference anymore? You be the judge. Read more » 

Review: El Presidente HI-FI Available

Label: The 89

The title track finds El Presidente Hi-Fi working it out with a tasteful, yet booty-shaking tech-house groove, with Latin percussion that leads to a solid breakdown laced with a horn-section riff. The flip's harder kicking tech-house jam juxtaposes the violent vocal sample, "put the fucking guns down," with a grooving, polyrhythmic arrangement. Read more » 

Review: Warmdesk Guero Variations

Label: Deluxe

The story goes that Guero Variations arose from William Selman's captivation with a recording by composer Helmut Lachenmann, in which all the sounds were captured from a piano by means other than playing it. Think John Cage versus Matthew Herbert, with Selman knocking striking, and otherwise drumming up sound from a piano without touching the ivories. Should sound weird, right? Read more » 

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