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Review: John Barera & Will Martin Graceless

Label: Dolly

In a word, the debut long-player from Boston DJs/producers/roommates John Barera and Will Martin is solid. Over the course of the album's eight tracks, there is simply nothing to object to. Essentially a collection of hardware-formed, soul-sampling house productions, one might assume that the record's unblemished run is the result of Barera and Martin playing it safe, but that would be shortsighted. In truth, Graceless is effortlessly refreshing in its conceptual simplicity; these are tracks for tracks' sake, and ones that again prove that a good sample, smart drum programming, and genuine musicality can still make for potent (and pleasantly uncomplicated) dancefloor music. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 10/13/2014

Review: Hieroglyphic Being and The Configurative or Modular Me Trio The Seer of Cosmic Visions

Label: Planet Mu

Chicago's Jamal Moss, who operates as Hieroglyphic Being and under a host of other aliases, has lately enjoyed a peak in popularity. For years, Moss worked in relative obscurity, turning out low-key releases while simultaneously weirding out a lot of people with his intense, and at that time high-pitched, sound (some of those gnarly pitches are easily evened out with a mixer, by the way). He incorporates a slightly slicker, more bass-heavy approach now, which is evidenced in places on The Seer of Cosmic Visions, a new compilation of his work (with "The Configurative or Modular Me Trio") from UK label Planet Mu. Moss' records aren't especially tough to get ahold of, but there are a lot of them, so this attempt to organize the artist's output is welcome. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 10/09/2014

Review: Second Storey Double Divide

Formerly operating under the name Al Tourettes, London-based artist Alec Storey began creating music as Second Storey in 2013 with his Margosa Heights EP. The four-track release confidently marked the addition of yet another talent to Houndstooth's impressive and ever-increasing roster, and now he's returned to the Fabric-housed label with his new LP, Double Divide. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 10/08/2014

Review: Caribou Our Love

Label: Merge

Swim marked a huge shift for Dan Snaith (a.k.a. Caribou). Although the Canadian musician's playfully opaque pop had long been the subject of critical acclaim, the release of his 2010 LP prompted a whole new level of accolades. In the intervening years, he's toured the world several times, supported the likes of Radiohead, and has somehow also made time for his club-focused Daphni moniker, fleshing the project out with 12"s and eventually an LP on his own Jiaolong label. Jiaolong took an instinctive, off-the-cuff approach to house and Afrobeat pastiche, with less intricate (but still realized) productions than his main project. It was Snaith's reaction to popular dance sounds, which he found "really macho" and "super-aggressive," and this dalliance with the club world seems to have changed him. Moreover, it helps explain why Our Love is the most accessible record Snaith has ever released. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 10/07/2014

Review: Flying Lotus You're Dead!

Label: Warp

Steven Ellison has been preoccupied with death for a long time. Before his latest LP as Flying Lotus, he released Until the Quiet Comes—a title which seems pretty self-explanatory—and even earlier, his LA beat-fusion classic Cosmogramma was greatly inspired by his mother's passing. Over the years, friends and mentors such as J Dilla, pianist Austin Peralta, DJ Mehdi, and many others in Ellison's life have died tragically young, and they've all continued to influence his creative work. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 10/06/2014

Review: Gui Boratto Abaporu

Label: Kompakt

A relative latecomer to the Kompakt techno world domination party of the '00s, Brazilian producer Gui Boratto scored nicely with Chromophobia, his first full-length for the Cologne label, in 2007. Its best track, "Beautiful Life," was a love anthem of sorts that spring and summer, and the LP featured some other good tunes ("The Blessing," "Shebang," "Mr. Decay") with similarly soaring synths, dramatic melodies, and warm basslines. The follow-up, Take My Breath Away, delivered on at least two big, fat electro-pop cuts ("No Turning Back" and "Atomic Soda"), while the third LP, III, had only a few memorable highlights (the bassy rocker "Stems From Hell" counts as one). One would hope that the new full-length, Abaporu, would see a return to the promise Boratto showed on his debut. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 09/29/2014

Review: Aphex Twin Syro

Label: Warp

For once, maybe the blimp, the promotional graffiti, and the Deep Web browser links were justified: Syro is Richard D. James doing his best work of the last two decades. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 09/22/2014

Review: Call Super Suzi Ecto


Call Super (a.k.a. Joe Seaton) isn't someone who makes things easy. That's not to say that his music is overly difficult or challenging; it's just that in an era where artists are largely expected to share every influence and willingly explain specifically what they're trying to communicate with their music, Seaton is content to leave things purposefully vague. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 09/19/2014

Review: Vessel Punish, Honey

Label: Tri Angle

Punish, Honey, the new LP from Vessel (a.k.a. Sebastian Gainsborough), is apparently dedicated in some way to England. So says the press release: "Combined with an interest in notions of national identity, Vessel asking himself the question 'What does "Englishness" in music really mean?'" At first read, that excerpt makes it sound like the Bristol producer might be half-baking a college thesis. Does the record really explore "Englishness"? Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 09/15/2014

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