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Review: Recondite Hinterland

Label: Ghostly

Though relatively new as a producer, Recondite (a.k.a. Lorenz Brunner) quickly began turning the heads of minimalist dance-music fans once his first singles began to appear in 2011. Last year's On Acid was especially notable, a reimagination of acid house that sounded little like anything usually associated with that genre. (Recondite's use of 303 was particularly unconventional.) Now, the German artist has found a new home at Ghostly, and made a record that is even more spare and subtle. Hinterland offers 11 cuts of minimal techno inspired by the landscapes of Lower Germany, where Brunner grew up. Over the LP's runtime, Recondite rarely varies from his bare-bones palette as he patiently works his way through ambient, techno, and house variations. Still, the record manages to come across as a remarkably patient, mature, and, at times, emotionally stirring body of work. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/13/2013

Review: Magic Touch Nothing More EP

Label: True Romance

As one of the first artists to release music on Not Not Fun's sister label 100% Silk, the reputation of recent Los Angeles transplant Magic Touch (a.k.a. Damon Palermo) might be forever tied to the murky disco and house approximations embodied by that label. For Palermo's latest release though, the producer has opted issue an EP via Tensnake's new True Romance imprint. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/13/2013

Review: Axel Boman Family Vacation

Sweden's Axel Boman first gained serious attention with his 2010 track "Purple Drank," which was released on DJ Koze's Pampa label. He's since gone on to establish himself as a consistent producer with his own set of idiosyncrasies, but Koze's initial backing still feels like quite a heavy—perhaps the heaviest—influence on his sound. Like Koze, Boman trades in a type of house which expertly balances emotion and quirk; it's as inviting as it is intricate, and is wont to switch directions. Family Vacation, his debut LP, is as fine an introduction as any to the producer's approach. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/12/2013

Review: Marquis Hawkes Sex, Drugs & House

Marquis Hawkes' first EP attracted enough attention to create some low-level controversy around its nods to ghetto house, sonic and otherwise. Cabrini Green took its name from the infamous Chicago housing project lobbed into the popular imagination by the '90s horror movie Candyman, and its a-side opened bluntly with a track called "Housing Project," whose sound bristled with what some saw as stolen energy. Raised in the UK and currently based in Berlin, the producer's latest for Glasgow's Dixon Avenue Basement Jams—and third release overall, following the Higher Forces at Work 12" from earlier this year—shows no indication of changing his basic approach, although it intimates that there's more stylistic range to the Marquis Hawkes alias than meets the ear. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/12/2013

Review: John Talabot DJ-Kicks

Label: !K7

The appearance of a mix CD can sometimes feel like a victory lap; after all, they often happen once a particular artist has proven their worth to the current musical community and is therefore declared "deserving" of a chance to show off their sonic personality in the form of a 70-minute mix—sprinkled with some unreleased tunes, of course. Granted, this sort of generalization can make the appearance of a new mix CD seem like a cynical music-industry exercise, but regardless, it's difficult to think of a man more deserving of a victory lap right now than John Talabot. Following the release of his triumphant debut LP, ƒIN, he's continued to prove worthy of considerable praise as a live act (alongside Pional), DJ, and producer (mostly via a number of remixes). As his contribution to the longstanding DJ-Kicks series goes to show though, Talabot is well aware that victory laps do not make for the most engaging listens, which is likely why he's instead taken the opportunity to put together a truly rewarding mix, one that reveals new facets of his musical DNA and further showcases the substantial depths of his own musical IQ. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/11/2013

Review: Tom Demac and Will Samson It Grows Again EP

Label: Aus

In the grand scheme of collaborations, a meeting of the minds between Tom Demac and Will Samson ranks on the more unlikely end of things. The first is an old hand in the UK tech-house scene, known since the early '00s as a producer of bassline-centric club cuts. The second is a folky singer-songwriter whose output has so far been characterized by cloudy atmospherics and delicate guitar work. Nevertheless, It Grows Again, the pair's debut EP on Will Saul's Aus imprint, finds a middle ground between the two artists' differences that results in something relatively rare at the moment: clean, indie-shaded vocal dance music that actually works. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/11/2013

Review: MGUN Some Tracks

Label: Third Ear

A large part of the appeal of Manuel Gonzales' tracks is surely the Detroit producer's ample use of distortion. Much of his catalog as MGUN, which draws on his city's multifaceted dance-music tradition, has arrived caked in grit, the results sounding like warped relics found in the gutter, contorted by time and environment. Nevertheless, Gonzales' music retains an urgency that makes him a worthwhile contributor to the contemporary scene. Some Tracks, his latest EP, is not an exceptional entry, but it offers a decent overview of the artist's style. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/08/2013

Review: Hubie Davison I Won't Be There

For his debut release, Hubie Davison has demonstrated a sense of artistic clarity and originality that most veteran musicians would be proud to call their own. I Won't Be There does borrow from some of the more obvious bits of the 2013 zeitgeist—twisted vocal hits, R&B and classic-house influences, for example—but perhaps due to his study of music composition in London, Davison sidesteps musical redundancy by creating a novel foundation for his aesthetic. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/08/2013

Review: Doc Daneeka "Walk On In" b/w "Trife Pt. II"

Label: Numbers

With efforts for Ramp/PTN, Roska Kicks and Snares, 50Weapons (usually alongside Benjamin Damage), and his own Ten Thousand Yen label, Doc Daneeka has certainly built a solid reputation as a producer, but—with the exception of his and Damage's "Creeper," perhaps—has not exactly delivered a trademark "tune" since appearing on the scene a few years back. However, Daneeka's first turn for Glasgow's reputable Numbers imprint may remedy that predicament, as its a-side cut, "Walk On In," is a certified monster. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/07/2013

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