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Review: Manasseh Meets the Equalizer Step Like Pepper

Label: Select Cuts

Smoked-out, dusted, what have you-Nick Manasseh's latest project explores otherworldly dreamscapes punctured by thick, throbbing bass. Not that this is typical stoner music, of course. Manasseh has teamed up with longtime partner the Equalizer for yet another round of heady, tripped-out, yet surprisingly restrained dub infused with reggae and jazz. Read more » 

Review: Lory D Sounds Never Seen

Label: Rephlex

Assembled as a disjointed tracklist rather than a set, Lory D takes hard techno to its most sinister level with Sounds Never Seen-the name of his new album and his Italian label. From beginning to end, we hear typically plodding techno sounds programmed in very atypical ways. An experienced early-'90s producer, Lory creates an audio playground of old-skool drum machines and sci-fi influenced synths all on a slight electro tip, like Morroder tracks refunked by Juan Atkins. With its robot noises, laser sounds and echo effects, Sounds Never Seen is on top of its game. Read more » 

Review: Little Brother The Listening

Label: ABB

Maybe now North Kakalaka will cease being just another shout-out via Little Brother's laidback indie hip-hop in the Native Tongue groove. With a lyrical delivery nestled between Q-Tip and Common-nasally, mellow flows expounding on fake hoes and false rappers-and lilting production that grooves with soulful samples and funk-laden loops, The Listening relies on a proven formula that keeps it simple and funky. But packing in 18 tracks is unnecessary for proven formulas, leaving the album teetering too close to monotony and falling victim to what the title track despises-aural wallpaper. Read more » 

Review: Tommy Guerrero Soul Food Taqueria

Label: MoWax

More hammock-on-la-playa than downtown-on-the-bus, Soul Food Taqueria is a nice case of dubby, electric guitar-driven downtempo. Ex-pro skater Tommy Guerrero has his foot on the effects pedal and his fingers on sultry Latin inflections, arriving at dusty lo-fi soul that is seductively languid. The largely instrumental album features occasional guest vocals from Gresham Taylor and Lyrics Born. A bluesy intro and three atmospheric interludes render the ambience palpable. Read more » 

Review: Gotan Project La Revancha Del Tango

Label: XL-Beggars Group

The last tango in Ibiza? While the US has been sleeping, the rest of the world has been gobbling this exceptional futuristic tango up. The France-based Gotan Project mixes chilled-out beats with an ensemble of jazz musicians, featuring the accordion-like sounds of the bandoneon. The US release features a bonus CD of stellar remixes by Peter Kruder, Tom Middleton, Kushite and Pepe Braddock. An excellent choice to summon up that mysterious earthy European vibe at your next dinner party. Don't sleep on it, sleep with it. Read more » 

Review: Greens Keepers Present the Ziggy Franklen Radio Show

Label: Classic Music

If you thought you knew what to expect from Derrick Carter's Classic Music label, think again. Sure, Chicago's Greens Keepers turn out tunes as lush, sassy and polished as labelmates Rob Mello and Tiefschwarz, but the Chi-town twosome draws on Dixieland pianos and country-fried guitar, as well as more traditional jack-tracks smacks. Still, they avoid any gimmicky taint by keeping their funk full and feisty. Read more » 

Review: Goldfrapp Black Cherry

Label: Mute

While once we loved Alison Goldfrapp for her hypnotic ethereal lullabies, now we admire for her ascendance into a fiery queen of squelchy disco. Owing less to the upsurge of electroclash than to Goldfrapp's exorcism of the demons she kept within for her more mellower debut, Black Cherry is a more brutal album. While her soothing tones still crop up from time to time, the production here is far more direct and aggressive. An album made to make you sit up rather than start your slouching, this is the sound of Goldfrapp warning you to be on your toes-who knows what lies next? Read more » 

Review: Dorine_Muraille Mani

Label: Fat Cat

Imagine Mani as the soundtrack to a Jean-Pierre Jeunet film about Amelie's long-lost schizo sister. Artistic glitch action ripples over petite bits of cut-up instrumental sound like the flicker of Jeunet's cinematography, with surreal, abstract rhythms and melodies randomly popping out of the crackling ether. Three super-minimal piano tracks provide brief moments of stillness in the album's kinetic disorder. Producer Julien Loquet enlists the little-girl voice of Chloe Delaume, who personifies the album's folky timbre and classical madness. Read more » 

Review: Diego Instant Reality

Label: Kanzleram

Twenty-two-year-old Diego Hostettler can build his tracks like his Kanzleramt protégé, Switzerland's hard techno/house superstar Alexander Kowalski. But it's lack of stylistic maturity makes Instant Reality only marginally more than an afterthought compared to Kowalski. It's the surgical cleanliness of Diego's source material-they're the same synth notes, the same arpeggios, the same breakneck techno rhythms. But Instant Reality lacks the scratchy, rough-around-the-edges quality that makes Kowalski's pounding Progress LP sound truly battle-tested. Why the comparison? Read more » 

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