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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

Review: White Visitation Ancestors

White Visitation (a.k.a. Nicolas Guerrero) is an artist from Mexico City whose music is not especially classifiable. Guerrero offers elements of dub techno, but, crucially, executes them with a refreshing simplicity. (Dub techno is frequently maligned for being plodding and overproduced.) He also spices his tracks with organic instrumentation, often in unlikely (but rarely jarring) ways. The producer surfaced on the Opal Tapes compilation Cold Holiday last winter, and had his self-released cassettes Tape 1 and Tape 3 sold through the RVNG Intl. online shop (there's a third called Dubs), but Ancestors is the first time he has actually put out a record on a label. Its three tracks are in line with the material on those prior efforts. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/20/2013

Review: Emptyset Recur

Over the course of its career—which has included three full-lengths and numerous EPs thus far—Emptyset has repeatedly raised the question of just how far minimal techno can be abstracted before it becomes something else entirely. The interest of the Bristolian duo in exploring sonic space and specificity—which has been apparent since the outfit dropped its first, self-titled album of dense, layered techno in 2009—was solidified on its most recent album, Medium, an LP constructed using source material from and elements composed entirely within a rural mansion in Cotswolds, England. Earlier this year, the pair offered up the Material EP, which explored the sonic environments of a decommissioned nuclear power plant, an underground concrete testing bunker, and a 22-mile medieval mine. Recur operates within this framework, although it eschews an overt focus on particular locations. Instead, it seems to be thematizing something much closer to the pure sonic dynamics of sound itself. As the press release states, Recur "examines the central themes of time, structure, and recursion, through the analysis of scale and the interaction of both formal and fractured sonics." Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/19/2013

Review: John Heckle Desolate Figures

Label: Tabernacle

Liverpool's John Heckle rarely strays from his pounding, overdriven production formula, but he manages to incorporate a lot of different styles on his records anyway, particularly in terms of his melodies, which can verge on the otherworldly. Desolate Figures is his second LP after a string of well-received singles, and it contains a welcome set for followers of his approach. While diverse, Heckle does not venture into drastically new territory on its eight tracks. He also largely eschews the fetching interludes that have dotted his past efforts—there is nothing as hooky as "A Basement (Interlude)" (a standout piece from his debut LP, 2011's The Second Son) here. Desolate Figures succeeds at presenting the producer in no-nonsense mode, "all guns blazing," as he says. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/19/2013

Review: JTC Valley Road (We Are 1)

Longtime Michigan producer Tadd Mullinix can be counted upon to bring a certain degree of knowledge to his tracks—historical, practical, or otherwise. Whether he is recording as Dabrye or James T. Cotton (or any of several other aliases, spanning an array of genres), it's usually pretty evident that Mullinix has spent some time considering the nuances of his tracks, as they seldom feel dashed-off. Too much thought often hampers a dance track's clout, but the producer manages to avoid that pitfall on Valley Road (We Are 1), his latest 12". Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/19/2013

Review: Logos Cold Mission

Pick
Label: Keysound

Like much of the music Martin "Blackdown" Clark backs via his Keysound label, there is an aspect of the throwback to Logos. The key aspect of the London producer's sound has been Wiley's eski beat (and his accompanying, beatless "devil" or "bass" mixes), a decade-old sound characterized by cuttingly luminous synthesizer and inside-out rhythms—tunes that have been gutted other than a hi-hat or a bass pulse (or a laser, or a gun cocking), with the rest of the percussion coming erratically. Eski is still present on Cold Mission, Logos' debut album, though he has also claimed luminary drum & bass label Metalheadz and drum & bass act 4Hero as influences. He's even more explicit about his reverence in the record's press release: "A lot of the album is informed by nostalgia for pirate-radio grime and the sense of loss I feel for that period—2002 felt like a much simpler time." This much looking backward could kill a lesser artist, but somehow, even after all of his consideration of the past, Logos has managed to craft an incredibly vital LP. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/18/2013

Review: Arkist "Summer Shimmer" b/w "Whipper Snapper"

Label: Apple Pips

Bristol producer Adam Gazla (a.k.a. Arkist) knows his way around dubstep, drone, garage, and minimal bass, but for his latest single on Apple Pips, he's elected to embrace discoteque bliss with two upbeat, physical crowdpleasers. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/18/2013

Review: Kowton "H-Street" b/w "Helsinki Sunrise"

Label: Pale Fire

As much as Joe Cowton has really solidified his style of punchy dance music in the last few years, every Kowton release still has a feeling of unpredictability. His drum patterns are usually abstract, stuttering structures, and tend to be coupled with subby pressure and influences from grime. Cowton has applied this foundation to an array of sides, though: moody slow house, urgent steppers, and even a remix of R&B singer Jeremih. "H-Street" b/w "Helsinki Sunrise," the latest 12" on his own Pale Fire label, leans toward the more bracing side of his repertoire. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/15/2013

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