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Review: Caribou Our Love

Label: Merge

Swim marked a huge shift for Dan Snaith (a.k.a. Caribou). Although the Canadian musician's playfully opaque pop had long been the subject of critical acclaim, the release of his 2010 LP prompted a whole new level of accolades. In the intervening years, he's toured the world several times, supported the likes of Radiohead, and has somehow also made time for his club-focused Daphni moniker, fleshing the project out with 12"s and eventually an LP on his own Jiaolong label. Jiaolong took an instinctive, off-the-cuff approach to house and Afrobeat pastiche, with less intricate (but still realized) productions than his main project. It was Snaith's reaction to popular dance sounds, which he found "really macho" and "super-aggressive," and this dalliance with the club world seems to have changed him. Moreover, it helps explain why Our Love is the most accessible record Snaith has ever released. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 10/07/2014

Review: Flying Lotus You're Dead!

Label: Warp

Steven Ellison has been preoccupied with death for a long time. Before his latest LP as Flying Lotus, he released Until the Quiet Comes—a title which seems pretty self-explanatory—and even earlier, his LA beat-fusion classic Cosmogramma was greatly inspired by his mother's passing. Over the years, friends and mentors such as J Dilla, pianist Austin Peralta, DJ Mehdi, and many others in Ellison's life have died tragically young, and they've all continued to influence his creative work. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 10/06/2014

Review: Gui Boratto Abaporu

Label: Kompakt

A relative latecomer to the Kompakt techno world domination party of the '00s, Brazilian producer Gui Boratto scored nicely with Chromophobia, his first full-length for the Cologne label, in 2007. Its best track, "Beautiful Life," was a love anthem of sorts that spring and summer, and the LP featured some other good tunes ("The Blessing," "Shebang," "Mr. Decay") with similarly soaring synths, dramatic melodies, and warm basslines. The follow-up, Take My Breath Away, delivered on at least two big, fat electro-pop cuts ("No Turning Back" and "Atomic Soda"), while the third LP, III, had only a few memorable highlights (the bassy rocker "Stems From Hell" counts as one). One would hope that the new full-length, Abaporu, would see a return to the promise Boratto showed on his debut. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 09/29/2014

Review: Aphex Twin Syro

Label: Warp

For once, maybe the blimp, the promotional graffiti, and the Deep Web browser links were justified: Syro is Richard D. James doing his best work of the last two decades. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 09/22/2014

Review: Call Super Suzi Ecto


Call Super (a.k.a. Joe Seaton) isn't someone who makes things easy. That's not to say that his music is overly difficult or challenging; it's just that in an era where artists are largely expected to share every influence and willingly explain specifically what they're trying to communicate with their music, Seaton is content to leave things purposefully vague. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 09/19/2014

Review: Vessel Punish, Honey

Label: Tri Angle

Punish, Honey, the new LP from Vessel (a.k.a. Sebastian Gainsborough), is apparently dedicated in some way to England. So says the press release: "Combined with an interest in notions of national identity, Vessel asking himself the question 'What does "Englishness" in music really mean?'" At first read, that excerpt makes it sound like the Bristol producer might be half-baking a college thesis. Does the record really explore "Englishness"? Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 09/15/2014

Review: Ital Endgame

Label: Planet Mu

Daniel Martin-McCormick's experimental music resume is as varied as it is impressive. Membership in the bands Black Eyes and Mi Ami long ago proved the DC-born artist's chops in the fields of hardcore and electronic-infused punk, and in his time he's also offered up abrasive, oddball electro-sleaze as Sex Worker. As Ital, he's been catching our ears with his curveball house since 2011, first via a quickfire series of EPs on 100% Silk and then with two albums during 2012 for Planet Mu, Hive Mind and Dream On. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 09/08/2014

Review: Roman Flügel Happiness Is Happening

Label: Dial

What is Happiness Is Happening? It's a question listeners will likely find themselves asking after their first spin of Roman Flügel's second album, which is as idiosyncratic as one might expect of a producer who has spent nearly 20 years perplexing music hacks with a prolific back catalog of fun, often unclassifiable 12"s. Happiness Is Happening could be called a house record, but only in the loosest sense; the album's kicks and hats are there to carry the album's spacious 1980s synth-pop and melodic Krautrock motifs, and as such, it's an LP geared much more for home listening than for DJs. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 09/04/2014

Review: Slackk Palm Tree Fire

The past year or so in UK dance music has been marked by the rapid ascendance of a new wave of instrumental grime producers, many of whom are affiliated with London's monthly Boxed clubnight. Slackk (a.k.a. Paul Lynch), a Boxed co-founder, stands as one of the most consistently inventive and forward-thinking of these figures, but he actually began honing his craft well before grime was hit with this recent swell of critical popularity. Since 2010, he's released records on labels such as Numbers, Unknown to the Unknown, and Local Action, and he also heads up the archival Grimetapes website. Now, he's put together his debut album, Palm Tree Fire. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 09/03/2014

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