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Review: French Fries Kepler

Over the past four years, Parisian producer French Fries has tried his hand at numerous styles, but he's rarely—if ever—been called out for a lack of talent. Instead, when he has come under fire, it has usually stemmed from a question of his maturity as an artist. This was particularly true in the case of 2012's "Yo Vogue," in which the track's naively plucked vocal samples seemed to undermine the very scene French Fries was attempting to pay homage to. Kepler, however, is a clear indication that his days of hastily echoing club trends are in the rearview, as French Fries' debut LP showcases a more refined production voice, even if it's one that perhaps still isn't quite ready for the full-length format. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 02/24/2014

Review: Perc The Power and the Glory

Label: Perc Trax

A recurring point of interest in the press releases, interviews, and promotional efforts leading up to the release of The Power and the Glory—the second LP from veteran English producer Ali Wells' (a.k.a. Perc)—has been the album's intentional political thread. The record's title could easily be taken to represent the driving force behind political ladder climbers, and track titles like "David & George" (references to British Prime Minister David Cameron and George Osborne, head of the country's economic affairs) and "Bleeding Colours" can certainly lend themselves to political interpretation. However, despite these inclinations, The Power and the Glory is not some kind of a call to arms or a "protest" album of any sort; instead, the blistering, 10-track effort seems to be more about Wells internalizing his own frustration, whether it's with self-serving political systems or the current rise of cookie-cutter dance music in the UK and beyond. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 02/19/2014

Review: Com Truise Wave 1

Com Truise's chrome-plated synth jams have always come across as a kind of musical mood ring. In loose, romantic, wistful moments, the best of Seth Haley's high-sheen outings ("Brokendate" or "VHS Sex," for instance) appeal to a nostalgia-junkie area of the brain over which few of us have much control. However, in harder-nosed, colder frames of mind, the same music's hyper-stylized maneuvers can occasionally seem tiresome. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 02/18/2014

Review: Juju & Jordash "Waldorf Salad" b/w "Third Planet from Altair"

Label: Dekmantel

On their releases for Dekmantel, Golf Channel, and a handful of other labels, Gal "Juju" Aner and Jordan "Jordash" Czamanski have favored abstraction over linearity, the sudden surprise of a wrong note to predictable perfect pitch. Their skill with delirious breakdowns and eccentric timbral shifts peaked on 2012's Techno Primitivism, which satisfied an increasing demand from many listeners for music that sounded like it was on the edge of collapse rather than encased in Lucite. Presenting a warped alternative to the slick-and-sleepy deep house of the moment, the diversity and sheer fun of Techno Primitivism elevated Juju & Jordash to new levels of critical acclaim; the pair's wonky, unrehearsed live sets have even become increasingly common on the international festival circuit. At its best, the duo's music is improvisation without academic suffocation, and asserts abstraction as a capable party-starter. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 02/12/2014

Review: Thug Entrancer Death After Life

Label: Software

Relatively unknown until last fall, Ryan McRyhew (a.k.a. Thug Entrancer) first found his footing as a budding artist in Denver's spirited experimental scene, crafting a range of ambient synthscapes and chilly, percussive workouts for his self-released Tropics Mind EP series. In 2011, he relocated to Chicago's south side; culling new inspiration from the city's bubbling footwork and juke scene, he took some of that intense local energy and injected it into his own conceptual, hardware-based approach. With a fresh artistic perspective, McRyhew then created Death After Life—his debut LP for the Software imprint, a Brooklyn label driven by the meta, idiosyncratic style of its primary curator, Daniel Lopatin. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 02/11/2014

Review: Illum Sphere Ghosts of Then and Now

Label: Ninja Tune

Over the past several years, Manchester producer and Hoya:Hoya co-founder Ryan Hunn (a.k.a. Illum Sphere) assembled a fairly impressive resume for himself, even before he was signed to Ninja Tune. Still, the venerable British label—responsible for over two decades of underground staples, and more recent standouts from the likes of Machinedrum, FaltyDL, and Slugabed—took something of a leap of faith by bringing Hunn into the fold, as he had yet to prove himself with a full-length. It's also debatable whether Ninja Tune is an appropriate home for Illum Sphere, whose music holds little of the playful, dub-inspired vibe that stamps most of the label's releases, and instead takes itself rather seriously. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 02/10/2014

Review: Jerome LOL Deleted/Fool EP

When LOL Boys went on indefinite hiatus towards the tail end of 2012, it was genuinely disappointing. The duo's Changes EP, which had been released only a month prior, had achieved an impressive balance between kitsch and sophistication with its particular brand of chilled-out '90s house influences, jazzy chords, and genuinely affecting guest vocal performances. Nevertheless, fans of LOL Boys have likely taken solace in the flurry of activity from Jerome LOL in the year following the group's separation. Apart from maintaining an active presence as the co-founder of the consistently excellent Body High label, the Los Angeles-based producer has issued a steady stream of free downloads, mixes, compilation tracks, and remixes, all of which have seen him exploring an inventive range of styles, including ambient-leaning tracks, pop edits, and a continuation of the melodic but abstract territory once covered by LOL Boys. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 02/05/2014

Review: Dusky "9T8"

Label: School

Together as Dusky, Alfie Granger-Howell and Nick Harriman have formed an uncommonly dependable partnership. With each Dusky record that has surfaced since 2011, listeners and—perhaps more importantly—DJs have learned that the London pair could be counted on for at least one effective (and usually rather catchy) garage/bass/house hybrid per effort. With its first release of 2014, Dusky has come up with another piece of well-mannered club music, taking only the smallest steps outside of its comfort zone in the process. The outfit's dependability may be unshaken as a result, but "9T8" is ultimately far from exciting. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 01/31/2014

Review: Terrence Parker Life on the Back 9

Label: Planet E

Few followers of electronic music need reminding that Detroit spawned a techno monster in the 1980s. But house music was also blowing up in the city at that time, and could be heard at backyard parties on the west side, on the lawns of Belle Isle Park along the Detroit River, and in clubs where disco ruled in the decade before. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 01/30/2014

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