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Review: SKC & Longman Battlefield

Label: DSCI4

Hungary's SKC is on fire at the moment. With all the top dons hammering both his darker material as well as his jazzed-out stormer "Limelight," he's now taken to collaborating with some of his fellow Hungarians, and by and large the results are off the hook . "Battlefield," SKC's joint effort with Budapest DJ Longman, is our personal fave at the moment, as it evokes memories of when dark drum & bass didn't entail just the aggro, evil shit. This is both dark and decidedly funky a la classic Konflict and Ed Rush & Optical material. Read more » 

Review: As One So Far (So Good)

Label: Ubiquity

Heartless techno?

Review: Soul Purpose Breaking Records

Label: Coup d'Etat Entertainment

Hip-hop trio Soul Purpose marks an auspicious debut with this album, a broad-ranging collection, including tracks like the battle rhyme "Take Cover," "The Other White Meat," the stark indictment of justice system abuse, and the string-backed "I Stay Busy." The group-MC Mazzi and production duo Koncepts and Zvi-craft an album of bold horns and an old-school style they update freely. Minus the excessive interludes (seven, plus an intro and an outro, complete with sappy kid) and the rather dull title track, the album works both as a whole and piecemeal, and promises even more in the future. Read more » 

Review: Gerd Modified

Label: Life Enhancing Audio

Gerd graces us with an ostensibly insider concept that works for the masses. Gerd. Modified is a compilation of Gerd remixes, other artists remixing Gerd, and Gerd remixing themselves. All Gerd all the time works, though. The beauty of Modified lies in the imaginative inclusion of throwback instruments such as flute and flugelhorn, accenting the sensuous melodies sliding through virtually every track. Read more » 

Review: Chris Clark Empty The Bones Of You

Label: Warp

Fresh on the heels of his "Ceramics Is The Bomb" EP, Chris Clark digs deeper into the melodic IDM territory that Warp's not explored since Autechre's Incunabula, placing Clark in the surprising-if unenviable-spot of having Warp's best release in recent memory. A cracking first track, "Indigo Optimus" posits all the crunchiness of glitch programming, but reins it in under a harrowing, dark chord structure. Read more » 

Review: Maps and Diagrams Free-Time

Label: Pause-2

For the fans of the little intimate "lovelies" camp of electronic music, a gift of Maps and Diagrams. It's Solvent without the skitter: sheets of slender, tailored ambience and some non-intrusive but tastefully clever beats. Peaceable and pretty and non-effacing. "Do It Yourself" has a nice sheen of very high-noted strands of honey. "Ideal" is a rock-a-bye lullaby, all sweet, rich melodies lovingly brushing up next to one another like lips against soft, sleeping shoulders. Read more » 

Review: Kagami Star Arts

Label: Frogman

Four years have elapsed since Kagami's last album, and it shows. As he shamelessly hops aboard the electro bandwagon, he's still carrying major disco filter and tired hard-house baggage. The only time he redeems himself is five cuts in on "2.27" and on the eighth track, "Perfect Storm." While these two techno offerings are decent fillers, they're sadly out of place on this paean to mediocrity. It's cold comfort that the tracks, despite their staleness, are really well produced. It's just that they're so indicative of the shite out there that you hardly care. Read more » 

Review: Tim Taylor vs. Andy Slate Muscle Madness

Label: Missile

Following up the epic re-release of the classic "Horn Track," Tim teams up with Budapest-based producer Andy Slate. With moods that reference early-'80s dance, this 12" shuffles along while highlighting alternating half-step sixteenth-note bass grooves. A bit less upfront of a melody than previous titles, and a positive leap for the imprint. Read more » 

Review: Pole Pole

Label: Mute

For all the conception behind this disc, it makes good background music for Saturday brunch at home. Berlin's Pole has cooked up a new series consisting of two previous releases that merge into this self-titled full-length. Here, Ohio rapper Fat Jon's urgent spoken-word vocals now appear on the four tracks that made up Pole's "45/45" EP, as well as on opener "Slow Motion" from Pole's "90/90" single. Sly percussive change-ups, soft melodic tones, and, at times, live sax and upright bass, combine to create a techno/hip-hop hybrid that will appeal to IDM/downtempo fans. Read more » 

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