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Review: Sidestepper 3 A.M. (In Beats We Trust)

Label: Palm

While many producers and DJs are content to pilfer a culture's musical heritage merely by sifting through stacks of vinyl, for others the allure of the heartland itself is impossible to deny. Richard Blair is one of the latter, a journeyman Brit who took off for the warmer climes of Columbia and Jamaica in search of inspiration. Sidestepper is the result, and it calls to mind similar fusions by acts like Up, Bustle and Out, the alter-ego of fellow Englishman Rupert Mould, who traveled to Spain and Cuba for his own recordings. Read more » 

Review: Ralph Myerz and the Jack Herren Band A Special Album

Label: Emperor Norton

Ironic nu-soul lounge of decidedly Northern European flavor, this tongue-in-cheek excursion fits the late-'60s early-'70s nuance with a fondue-like catchiness. A tiki-bar aesthetic wrapped in the hipster knowingness of cosmopolitan living, the electronics are nearly Jimi Tenor in style, indie rock in arrangement. The final production is topped with a dash of buoyant flashiness. Perfectly in tune with the discriminating yet mockingly authoritative party host, this CD would do justice on any in-the-know's play list. Read more » 

Review: Mouse on Mars Glam

Label: Thrill Jockey

It's understandable why Josh Evans rejected the Mouse on Mars soundtrack for his film, Glam. Imagine audiences flinching from the sounds of mechanical dragonflies zig-zagging on a pond to flee from a blaring boombox nearby...while they try to seriously watch Tony Danza(!) slug a transvestite. This 1997 movie with such brilliant scenes fell straight into the video mausoleum. MoM then released their project in a scant, vinyl-only supply on their Sonig label. Thrill Jockey now reissues Glam, leaving more of us with the mice men's most accomplished work. Read more » 

Review: Daniel Magg Facets

Label: Compos

Compost is nothing if not consistent. The label is known for churning out classy, sophisticated nu-jazz/broken beat/house tunes at an alarming rate, and Daniel Magg's Facets is another fine example. The former Worldless People member's solo debut fits well with the long-established Compost sound, and really breaks no new ground. Still, with all the shimmering, soulful and danceable tunes on here, the album is by no means typical. Read more » 

Review: Gavounna Warm Industry

Label: Melodic

Continuing their lineage of discovering unknown, highly talented artists, Melodic provide a debut release for Greek producer Athanasios Argianas as Gavounna, a worthy labelmate for Melodic's already impressive stable, which includes Minotaur Shock, Lucky Pierre and Pedro. A proponent of found-sound-sampling, Gavounna constructs incredibly delicate instrumental tracks, imperceptibly shifting through both organic and electronic sources, touching on contemporary classical, electronica and (although not obviously) a certain atmosphere of traditional Greek music. Read more » 

Review: I-Wolf Soul Strata

Label: Klein

Sofa Surfer Wolfgang Schl?gl has been gettin' up off the couch to make Stateside trips in pursuit of his LA girlfriend. His resultant solo album has an American rocksoulfunk layer that departs from the Surfers' Viennese dub stylee. As I-Wolf, Schl?gl wallows in the misgivings of a lovestruck soul. Guitar, bass, drum breaks, and slippery horns churn drunkenly behind rock and r&b vocals by the likes of Ken Cesar and Damon Aaron, plus a ragga chant by DJ Collage. Read more » 

Review: False Eslaf

Label: Plus8

After a good string of releases for Ghostly International and Spectral Sounds, Ann Arbor's Matthew Dear brings a full-length of next-school minimal Detroit techno for Mr. Hawtin's Plus 8 venture. Hovering over the smacking claps, smeared voices and soda-bottle percussion that litter Dear's alternately burbling, murmuring and snappy arrangements is a potent, surround-sound bass sensibility that departs from the standard clipped low-end that minimalism usually offers up. Read more » 

Review: Burnt Friedman & The New Dub Players Can't Cool

Label: Nonplace

From the opening moments of Can't Cool, Berlin-based Burnt Friedman's fourth long-player, you can sense that he's broadened his horizons even further and that the album is going to be funky as shit. From the slow dub jams to the fractured and minimal beats The Nu Dub Players understand the use of space in rhythm, and each instrumental part envelops its own musical position. Read more » 

Review: Falko Brocksieper Hoax Deluxe

Label: Sub Static

Part of the mighty Kompakt empire, Sub Static reinforces Germany as Earth's premier techno/house hotbed. On his debut album, label boss Falko Brocksieper forges sophisticated and quirky dance tracks designed neither for superclubs nor for intimate spaces, but rather for those enchanted rooms where jocks only spin Perlon, Playhouse, Kompakt, Traum and Sub Static platters. With a sly wink, Falko subtly twists tech-house-and, on the title cut, even EBM-protocols, but his work should please both cognoscenti and casual partiers. Read more » 

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