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Review: The Cyclist Flourish

Label: All City

Although he debuted in 2011 with the Bending Brass cassette, Irish producer The Cyclist (a.k.a. Andrew Morrison) probably made most of his fans with its follow-up, last year's Bones in Motion, an album that appeared right when peoples' appetite for lo-fi dance music was at its peak. Since then, Morrison has filled in the interim with a track on a compilation EP and a 12" in a boogie-influenced style under the name Buz Ludzha, but now, he's properly returned with Flourish, his sophomore LP. A heavily saturated, amorphous set of rave-referencing house tracks, it's unlikely to disappoint anyone too much. Given Morrison's prolific work rate, not to mention with his signature corroded production style, he could potentially be slotted into the same lineage of producers as artists like Legowelt, Ceephax Acid Crew, or DMX Krew—cult acts who jam out hundreds of tracks, sometimes striking gold but perhaps just as often releasing entire albums of sketches or failed attempts. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/19/2014

Review: Andy Stott Faith in Strangers

The first seven minutes of Faith in Strangers are as still as a December morning. Andy Stott's last two EPs and his second album, Luxury Problems, began, after a brief time, with the crank of a handle and the coal-hungry chug of a monstrous Victorian factory machine; this time, the Manchester producer's third album arrives not with the clanking of sledgehammers, but with the cleansing sound of cold midnight air. On "Time Away," a solemn euphonium horn calls out to the listener like a cargo ship returning to a remote harbor. "Who is talking, who is crouching," asks Alison Skidmore (Stott's former piano teacher turned vocal contributor) on the following track, "Violence," which begins with a shrill flare of modular noise and soft, cooing synth pads. Skidmore's lullaby, by turns erotic and menacing, stands alone and uncertain at first amid these bare elements, but it grows more assertive as the lumbering drums of "Violence" sputter into motion. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/18/2014

Review: Machinedrum Vapor City Archives

Label: Ninja Tune

Travis Stewart (a.k.a Machinedrum) really knows how to milk a concept. Last September, he released the excellent Vapor City LP, which found a sultry balance between jungle, hip-hop, and melodic ambience. Based on an imaginary city from Stewart's dreams, the loose theme didn't really seem to affect the listening experience, but it did provide a narrative for his future output. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/17/2014

Review: Neel Phobos

Neel (a.k.a. Giuseppe Tillieci) is an Italian producer, DJ, and mastering engineer, not to mention one-half of the vaunted Voices from the Lake project alongside Donato Dozzy. For that group, originally conceived for a live set at Japan's deep techno mecca, Labyrinth, Neel has referred to his duties as "[making] sure our music sounds the best it possibly can." Indeed, the young Italian is said to have a golden ear, having mastered records for Morphine, Prologue, and other serious techno imprints. Still, we haven't yet seen Tillieci lay out his own vision prior to the arrival of the startlingly ambitious Phobos. It's his first full-length, and it finds Neel presenting an epic collection of dense ambient textures, a slowly unfurling space story for the modern hi-fi enthusiast. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/14/2014

Review: Anthony Parasole My Block

Label: Ostgut Ton

A typical Anthony Parasole record has a casual relationship with euphoria. That's not to say that they don't carry a certain euphoric quality, but in the three years that Parasole has put out music, it's become clear that it's the rough, rambling terrain leading up to the moment of release—and not the moment itself—that gives his imposing house/techno hybrids their pulse. On My Block, Parasole's debut EP for Ostgut Ton and his fourth solo release, the layers of his production creep onto each other with a genuine disregard for tension and release. As such, the terrain of My Block's three tracks is relatively flat, trading steep gradients for steady inclines and creating a ruthlessly hypnotic experience in the process. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/13/2014

Review: Torn Hawk Let's Cry and Do Pushups at the Same Time

Is Torn Hawk (a.k.a. Luke Wyatt) serious? This is a fair question of a producer who has given us tracks like "Put That Crotchless Thing on and Save My Life," and now, an album with an equally ridiculous name, Let's Cry and Do Pushups at the Same Time. There is a theme of corroded masculinity at the heart of Wyatt's work, both as a video artist and apparent body sculptor. In images, he often subverts his good looks with a bit of VHS glitch. On Let's Cry, he attempts to do something similar with his music, imbuing what is essentially melodic post rock with some busted percussion and slightly outsider moves. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/12/2014

Review: Mr. G Personal Momentz

Label: Phoenix G

Mr. G's sad recent losses have very much been our gain. Colin McBean's well-received last album, 2012's State of Flux, was inspired by the passing of a close friend, and this new one was produced in a 10-day period sometime after the death of the Londoner's father. And it shows: even though much of his work over the last decade has been focussed on tough, dusty, and elongated house, Personal Momentz feels even more expertly distilled and positively storied than anything he has released before. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/11/2014

Review: Joey Anderson Head Down Arms Buddha Position

Label: TANSTAAFL

Compared to compadres like DJ Qu and Levon Vincent, Joey Anderson was something of a late bloomer. Since the wider world has caught on to him, though (thanks in large part to a few well-placed pointers from Vincent on his Fabric 63 mix, not to mention Anderson's seriously shadowy debut LP on Dekmantel earlier this year), he has become one of techno's most singular and standout artists. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/10/2014

Review: Arca Xen

Label: Mute

Over the past few years, Arca (a.k.a. Alejandro Ghersi) has quickly become the poster boy for a clued-in generation of internet producers who pay equal regard to DJ Mustard and Daniel Lopatin. Back in 2011, the Venezuelan immigrant's first major effort was a download-only mixtape (consisting entirely of his own material) that came via web 2.0 mouthpiece DIS magazine. His twisted Stretch releases—which did exactly that to hip-hop forms—followed, as did last year's &&&&&, but it all felt a bit slapdash before Ghersi leveled up and started working with Kanye West, FKA Twigs, Kelela, and now, Bjork. Somehow, Arca has ascended from deviantART to working with the defining artists of our time—it's a Horatio Alger tale for the Ableton set. His solo debut, Xen, arrives on Mute, and comes amid a flurry of press in which the young producer has spoken frankly about his sexuality and stated that Xen is a sexless alter-ego that emerges when he's high. Without question, it's an arty concept album from an musician who's crept more than halfway into the mainstream, but it's also Ghersi's most gorgeous, personal work to date. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/04/2014
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