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Review: Shadowlust Trust in Pain

Label: L.I.E.S.

Shadowlust is the new collaborative project from L.I.E.S. stalwart Svengalisghost (a.k.a. Marquis Cooper) and 51717 (a.k.a. Lili Schulder), with Cooper doing the beats and Schulder singing and programming the synthesizers. Considering the former's catalog and listening to Trust in Pain, the pair debut LP, it's clear why these two decided to work together. Cooper has worked to meld industrial and assorted "wave" influences into house tracks in the past, and this LP uniformly deals with those sorts of barbed grids. It does so in a more subdued way, however—those looking for arrangements with that titular pain might be disappointed. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/25/2013

Review: Physical Therapy Non-Drowsy EP

Label: Allergy Season

Alongside producers such as Hound Scales, Divvorce, and Max McFerren, the now partially Berlin-based DJ/producer Physical Therapy (a.k.a. Daniel Fisher) has spent the past couple of years pushing a new wave of techno in NYC. Granted, he offers a particular strain of the genre that tends to be more playful and unorthodox than the more purist variants one generally associates with the sound, but his work is not without its charms. Physical Therapy has always been a particularly wide-ranging DJ and producer, but only got his official start last year with the release of an EP of melodic breakbeat hardcore on Hippos in Tanks. His latest effort, the Non-Drowsy EP, is coming via Fisher's own, newly minted Allergy Season imprint, and marks his third EP release in as many months. Although his DJ sets and mixes have taken on a decidedly techno-leaning bent as of late, little on the Non-Drowsy EP actually comes close to qualifying as techno. It's a delightfully impure grab bag, with seven referent-heavy tracks that allude to a number of dance-music styles both past and present, seemingly simultaneously. More importantly, and perhaps more than any other Physical Therapy release to date, the songs feel uniquely like the product of a single restless mind. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/22/2013

Review: Jimmy Edgar Mercurio

Label: Ultramajic

Jimmy Edgar is in a pretty enviable position. The Detroit-born, Berlin-based producer has released recordings on Warp, !K7, and Hotflush, experimenting with everything from hard-edged techno to sexually charged electro and rambunctious house, but has managed to stay relevant over the years by constantly refining his sound. Following this year's more DJ-friendly Hot Inside EP, Edgar's latest release is Mercurio, a new three-song EP for his own Ultramajic imprint that finds him continuing to churn out high-energy tracks that reference classic dancefloor tropes while emphasizing crisp, pristine sonics. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/22/2013

Review: Sleeparchive A Man Dies in the Street Pt.2

Label: Tresor

Regis and Function credit the first release from Sleeparchive (a.k.a. Roger Semsroth) as the inspiration around which Sandwell District formed. Released in 2004, Elephant Island has aged well, and its impact on Sandwell District's 2010 album Feed-Forward is clear. Nearly a decade has passed since Semroth's influential debut first surfaced, yet the man still hasn't changed his template. This is his second offering from the A Man Dies in the Street series, EPs inspired by the Brassaï photographs of the same name, and it finds Semsroth so focused on pursuing the formal core of the Sleeparchive project that he doesn't bother to invite listeners in. This is loop techno with no exit and minimal acknowledgement of anything outside of itself. Calling these tracks DJ tools sounds too social. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/22/2013

Review: Nils Frahm Spaces

Over the past few years, Berlin-based composer/pianist Nils Frahm has gained a very much deserved repuatiation as a compelling live performer. In the process, he has helped to rekindle what for many in the electronic-music community was a somewhat dimly lit flame for modern classical compositions. Offering recordings from a variety of Frahm's live performances captured over the past two years, Spaces accurately reveals him to be not only an extremely talented pianist, but also a performer who's able to adapt to his surroundings with grace and purpose. Still, hearing Frahm's performances after the fact does not prove to be quite as spellbinding of an experience as watching the man live, making Spaces a record that will no doubt appeal to the musician's existing fans, but may not necessarily be the best place to start for those new to his sound. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/21/2013

Review: L.B. Dub Corp Unknown Origin

Label: Ostgut Ton

Luke Slater's music has probably been described, at more than one party, as "techno that girls could like." That's a problematic statement in some ways, but let's put it aside since it's for reasons that have nothing to do with Slater. The techno veteran's latest album—as L.B. Dub Corp, for Ostgut Ton—is almost incapable of alienating or offending any listener. It's not a genre-bound statement, which is well enough for someone whose discography runs so deep that making a statement is beside the point. Unknown Origin's accessibility is an organic one, and it doesn't come from him trying to be polite or "reach an audience." A lot of listeners simply agree with his ideas about what makes for good music, ideas he might not even be able to articulate. He's just on a positive vibe—there's nothing smarmy about his work, and we're certainly not suggesting that he's sitting behind a mixing console, rubbing his hands together and hissing "girlssssss." Techno is sometimes a too-serious world, and there's a lightness to this album that's as energizing as its machine rhythms. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/21/2013

Review: Torus Feeel

Joeri Woudstra (a.k.a. Torus) is a young Dutch producer with clear intent behind his lilting, organic beats. With Feeel—which is being delivered both as an eight-song digital release (that includes two remixes) and a truncated 7" single—he limits the sonic palette to only a few options, mostly relying on homemade percussion and field-recorded ambience to set the mood for his sedate instrumentals. In doing so, Woudstra's restrained EP winds up sounding like the stony offspring of LA beatmaker Samiyam and Bad Vibes-era Shlohmo, though he makes less of an effort to delineate between cuts than those hazy producers. What instead emerges is a series of similarly captured moments, in the form of tracks, that often seem to successfully slow down time by virtue of their placid, unflappable direction. Without question, Woudstra's work is intriguing; however, when the EP is viewed as a whole, the isolated moments or feelings he expresses appear somewhat less significant, mainly because of his self-imposed sonic rules. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/21/2013

Review: Objekt Objekt #3

Label: Objekt

Resuming his self-titled white-label series, Berlin-based producer Objekt has issued the follow-up to his excellent 2012 single for Hessle Audio, "Cactus" b/w "Porcupine." While that record traded in a heady blend of dubstep wobble and stepping rhythms, the Objekt #3 single changes things up with two far more aggressive, considerably more techno-influenced cuts. This is not say Objekt #3's two tracks are any more straightforward, as both exhibit unique and unpredictable convergences between skittering, syncopated rhythms and raw techno. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/20/2013

Review: Legowelt Crystal Cult 2080 Sampler EP

Legowelt (a.k.a. Danny Wolfers) has been enjoying something of a hot streak recently. Between last year's excellent full-length for Clone Jack for Daze, The Paranormal Soul, the Unknown to the Unknown-released Star Gazing EP, and a brand-new 12" on L.I.E.S., the prolific Dutch producer seems to have settled into his latest incarnation as someone who explores the deeper strains of Chicago and Detroit house and techno. The only downside of this is that it's now easier than ever to predict what a new Legowelt release will entail—usually some combination of brittle drum programming, chugging, acid-informed basslines, and a cosmic, iridescent synth sheen. All of these elements are present on the limited-edition 12" that precedes the producer's forthcoming Crystal Cult 2080 full-length for Creme Organization, the Hague-based label that boasts Legowelt's 2003 Reports from the Backseat Pimp LP as one of its early releases. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/20/2013

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