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Review: Roman Flügel Happiness Is Happening

Label: Dial

What is Happiness Is Happening? It's a question listeners will likely find themselves asking after their first spin of Roman Flügel's second album, which is as idiosyncratic as one might expect of a producer who has spent nearly 20 years perplexing music hacks with a prolific back catalog of fun, often unclassifiable 12"s. Happiness Is Happening could be called a house record, but only in the loosest sense; the album's kicks and hats are there to carry the album's spacious 1980s synth-pop and melodic Krautrock motifs, and as such, it's an LP geared much more for home listening than for DJs. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 09/04/2014

Review: Slackk Palm Tree Fire

The past year or so in UK dance music has been marked by the rapid ascendance of a new wave of instrumental grime producers, many of whom are affiliated with London's monthly Boxed clubnight. Slackk (a.k.a. Paul Lynch), a Boxed co-founder, stands as one of the most consistently inventive and forward-thinking of these figures, but he actually began honing his craft well before grime was hit with this recent swell of critical popularity. Since 2010, he's released records on labels such as Numbers, Unknown to the Unknown, and Local Action, and he also heads up the archival Grimetapes website. Now, he's put together his debut album, Palm Tree Fire. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 09/03/2014

Review: Marcel Dettmann Fabric 77

Label: Fabric

Marcel Dettmann's 73-minute mix for Fabric feels like an overdue milestone for an artist who has been at the peak of his powers for some time. As such, Fabric 77 is, to some extent, free from any pressure to be a career-defining document; it's as much a showcase for the Berghain resident's label, Marcel Dettmann Records (MDR), as it is an exhibition of the asceticism that informs his lengthy techno sets in Berlin and beyond. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 08/21/2014

Review: J. Velez Territories

Label: L.I.E.S.

Following up last year's well-received MMT Tape Series collection for Rush Hour, late-blooming Jersey City producer J. Velez presents six loosely connected, genre-defying cuts on Territories, a lean LP which values open-ended sonic experimentation over most everything else. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 04/14/2014

Review: Todd Terje It's Album Time

Pick
Label: Olsen

"Ragysh," "Inspector Norse," "Strandbar," and, reaching way back, "Eurodans"—Todd Terje has been responsible for a largely untouchable run of fun, floor-filling singles in recent years. For some artists, that might result in a lot of pressure once the time came to release a debut album, but as the title (and artwork, to a certain degree) of the Norwegian disco king's first full-length suggests, Terje hasn't attempted to compensate by taking on a more serious tone. Part victory lap, part prog-disco voyage, It's Album Time finds Terje triumphantly unafraid to continue simply being himself, as the man's musical ability and wealth of production personality prove to be more than capable of filling an album's worth of listening. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 04/07/2014

Review: Millie & Andrea Drop the Vowels

Label: Modern Love

Over the course of their respective careers, the individual work of Miles Whittaker and Andy Stott (who together form Mille & Andrea) has always seemed to come with a sense of purpose. Stott's Passed Me By and Luxury Problems were centered around distinct sonic concepts, while Whittaker's releases (usually as half of Demdike Stare) have often adhered to more abstract conceptual guidelines. The details may differ from one release to the next, but the producers' separate efforts have continuously felt as if they were driven by something more than just an urge to make good tunes. Millie & Andrea's Drop the Vowels LP bucks that trend to a certain degree, as its eight tracks seemingly go in whichever way they please. Ultimately, the album sounds like two producers simply having fun with their combined talents. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 03/31/2014

Review: Legowelt Crystal Cult 2080

Legowelt's creative pool runs deep. More than almost any producer in recent years, the Dutchman has released material at a mind-boggling pace while maintaining a consistent level of quality. Countless remixes, compilation tracks, and a string of EPs have filled the 15-month space between his 2012 LP, The Paranormal Soul, and Crystal Cult 2080, but somehow, Legowelt still hasn't tapped his well dry; his latest album finds the veteran producer delivering yet another solid effort. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 03/24/2014

Review: Vermont Vermont

Label: Kompakt

The self-titled debut release from Vermont—a collaboration between Danilo Plessow (a.k.a. Motor City Drum Ensemble) and Innervisions affiliate Marcus Worgull—is one of 2014's most pleasant electronic offerings so far; it's also something of a surprise. Shedding almost every recognizable bit of its creators' usual dancefloor inclinations, Vermont finds Plessow and Worgull crafting an album full of exploratory electronics and Kraut-indebted synth adventures that proves both producers' talents reach well beyond the club. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 03/17/2014

Review: Tensnake Glow

Label: Astralwerks

With the recent commercial success of acts like Disclosure and Duke Dumont, the lines between "underground" and "mainstream" dance music have continued to blur at an accelerated rate. At the same time, the critical tones emanating from those who wish to keep the two camps as separate as possible have only become more rash and dismissive. Glow, the debut LP from Tensnake, is bound to elicit some "gone commercial" flack, as the veteran German producer has tapped guest vocalists for more than half of the record's cuts and moved his output to Astralwerks, a subsidiary of Universal Music Group. Still, those familiar with Tensnake's discography are likely aware that he's not someone who's been afraid to dabble in the more carefree ends of house and disco, which helps Glow feel less like a blatant stab at mainstream appeal and more like a natural evolution of his sound. However, that doesn't prevent the LP from coming off as a misfire, one where its creator's ambition seems to have outstripped his abilities. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 03/10/2014

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