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Review: Batu "Spooked" b/w "Clarity (Dismantled)"

Thus far, Livity Sound has only released records by Kowton, Peverelist, and Asusu, its three founding members. Given that, perhaps the backwards spelling of the label name on its latest 12" heralds an imprint that's open to offerings from their associates. At the very least, Batu's "Spooked" b/w "Clarity (Dismantled)" reveals a producer on a very similar tack as Livity Sound's core trio. One could easily slot these tracks in with any of those producers' material, or with Pinch, whose Cold Recordings released Batu's debut back in August. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 12/09/2013

Review: Heatsick Re-Engineering

Label: PAN

As one half of niche noise act Birds of Delay, Steven Warwick coaxed waves of psychedelic drone from a minimal, casio-and-pedal-based set-up. He's since moved onto greater recognition with his solo Heatsick project, turning heads with a series of inventive releases for Berlin-based label PAN over the last two years that traded Birds of Delay's dense textures for refreshingly off-the-cuff dance beats, once again made with his trusty casio. Warwick's latest, a second full-length release for PAN, is perhaps his most eloquently conceptualized record yet. Described in the press materials as a "cybernetic poem," Re-Engineering is a brittle and surprisingly lithe record that updates the now-historic sonic futurisms of post-punk, disco, and synth-pop to comment on our current, hyper-modern era. It is also incredibly wry; Re-Engineering's track titles are heavy on puns and wordplay, and include such gems as "E-scape" and "Clear Chanel," while the title track features an automaton-like voice reading a buzzword-heavy poem. Moreso than Warwick's previous, often lo-fi releases as Heatsick, many of Re-Engineering's 11 tracks are surprisingly lush and make clearer the dance-music influences that have always been latent in the project; however, despite these changes, textured, improvisational psychedelia continues to help define the work. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 12/06/2013

Review: Funn City All-Night People

Label: Startree

Morgan Geist may have just landed a UK number-one single, but Metro Area remains his most critically acclaimed project. Darshan Jesrani, his partner in that duo, has been relatively quiet since the pair first ceased operations some years ago—the two actually reunited for a run of live shows earlier this year—but his just-launched Startree label suggests that he is still investigating Metro Area's DNA. All-Night People, Jesrani's first single as Funn City, recalls the sort of material the duo dug out for its Fabric 43 mix—if not outright cheesy, it does capture a kind of exuberance that just doesn't exist anymore. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 12/06/2013

Review: bEEdEEgEE SUM/ONE

Label: 4AD

As a founding member of New York experimental troupe Gang Gang Dance, Brian DeGraw has made a career of incorporating disparate elements into a heaving whole, merging everything from grime to contemporary Chinese pop. Gang Gang Dance writes some fantastic hooks, but because it is a group, and because of its psychedelic m.o., those hooks are often loose and fleeting. The idea of the band adapting its sound to a more populist format, then, is tantalizing. With such a bewildering array of influences, one might suppose SUM/ONE, DeGraw's solo album would land somewhere near a globally focused experimenter like Timbaland. This is partly the case. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 12/05/2013

Review: IVVVO Light Moving

There are two ways that the title of IVVVO's latest EP can be read, and both reflect his aesthetic. Light steals across the surface of these tracks like sunlight glints on a large body of water on an overcast day. If, on the other hand, we choose to read "light" as an adjective, the meaning still fits—these five tracks trip lightly across abandoned rave dancefloors, preoccupied with the past but not overly burdened by it. IVVVO garnered some attention over the summer with Future, an EP for Public Information that paired swollen drum rhythms and the occasional gorgeous, forestal melody. Despite that record's success, fall is a far more apt season for the time-stretched cloudiness of IVVVO's music, which looks back on early-'90s hardcore techno with the same opiated gaze as Mark Leckey's Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore video. That being said, Light Moving settles, at points, for reaffirming what we already know about the Portuguese producer rather than deepening his music's affect. Future's tremendous opening track, "Darkness in My Soul," suggested there's a lot more going on with IVVVO than riding the "death of rave" zeitgeist; Light Moving retains that promise, but doesn't do much more than the earlier EP did to show what his end game is. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 12/05/2013

Review: Ben Sims Fabric 73

Label: Fabric

There's something reassuringly upfront about Ben Sims. Refusing to raise his head above the parapet of underground techno for two decades or so, the Theory Recordings boss approaches the booth with principles based upon hip-hop turntablism and showmanship, only they've been read through a distinctly muscular club lens. Of course, the sledgehammer-solid, nigh-on banging, and occasionally manic end of techno has been receiving plenty of attention in the last year or so, with Blawan's rise to stardom (which has been fueled in part by his collaborative Karenn and Trade projects) and the music being turned out by key figures like Objekt. As such, Sims' long-awaited entry into the Fabric mix series couldn't have come at a better time in terms of public interest. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 12/04/2013

Review: Visionist "M" b/w "Secrets"

Label: RAMP

South London producer Louis Carnell (a.k.a. Visionist) has released a deluge of EPs and singles this year, and this latest effort marks his debut for the long-running RAMP imprint. "M" b/w "Secrets" continues his foreboding line of stripped-down bass sounds, but also finds the UK artist tightening up his production technique without deviating far from his established formula. In a brief nine minutes, Carnell's self-assured, minimal pair of cuts presents itself with little fanfare, but the release is still a worthy complement to September's I'm Fine EP. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 12/04/2013

Review: Egyptrixx A/B Til Infinity

The sole Canadian representative of the increasingly international Night Slugs contingent, Egyptrixx (a.k.a. David Psutka) has followed up his ambitious 2011 debut album, Bible Eyes, with the equally inventive A/B Til Infinity. Psutka's work as Egyptrixx has always operated with a slightly unconventional approach to club music, but the woozy synths and atmospheric tendencies of his debut album nonethless complemented Night Slugs' dystopian, experimental reconfigurations of dance-music tropes. A/B Til Infinity largely moves things further away from the dancefloor, with nine tracks and very few kick drums to be found on any of them. Egyptrixx's excellently weird recent mix for Night Slugs' ongoing podcast series signaled the producer's interest in exploring noise and texture as elements on an equal footing with the rawest, most stripped-back club beats, and that tendency has held firm with A/B Til Infinity's multi-dimensional, surface-oriented techno. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 12/03/2013

Review: Fantastic Man
 Heartbreaker

Although they haven't gotten as much attention as the records under his own name, Melbourne's Mic Newman has been releasing tracks under the Fantastic Man alias since 2010. Heartbreaker, his latest EP under that banner, is not too far removed from what one expects of Newman—its three originals offer deeper tracks with inflections from old-school house and '80s boogie, with dashes of vocals for good measure. It's not an especially daring EP, but even hardened house heads will find bits to latch onto. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 12/03/2013

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