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Review: High Planes Drifter vs. Goldspot/Horsepower Productions Sholay/TGS Remix

Label: Tempa

Lights out for the summer. "Sholay" is downtempo, and reminiscent of "Snakecharmer" (but better), with glistening bells'ndian percussion and laced with haunting Bollywood vox. On the flip, "TGS" caresses you with shimmering synth and teases with blaxploitation threats, before dropping you right in the bass chamber. Essential! Read more » 

Review: VU (Variable Unit) Handbook for the Apocalypse: A Hitch-hiker's Guide Through the Conflict

Label: Wide Hive

Like a bling-bling-and-bullets album dedicated to God, many artists are currently as ideologically slippery as a Humvee climbing the banks of the Euphrates. VU are not those artists. These are times to feel passionately about politics, and VU is here to give voice to everything you've been feeling, but have been told by nightly polls that it's impolite to say. Full of samples of demonstrators, visions of a humorously stark future, right-wing talking-heads and news broadcasts underscored by the mysterious Chief of Espionage on Rhodes organ, this is more than simple posturing. Read more » 

Review: Fiona Renshaw Waste Away

Label: Laws of Motion

Laws of Motion look to shed the strictures of nu-jazz legacy with signings like Tom Noble and this powerful singer/songwriter/guitarist. Ms. Renshaw gives her passionate original A-side a gutsy downtempo beat treatment, and leaves her flipside cover of Gil Scot-Heron's "Home is Where the Hatred Is" beatless and huge. Read more » 

Review: Alex Attias The Selector Series Vol. 1

Label: Goya

Known for his future jazz productions as part of Beatless, Bel-Air Project, and Plutonia, Alex Attias demonstrates here that he's one of the finest DJs rocking spots in any genre. On this release from famed West London distributor Goya, Attias throws down a top-notch club set that balances the off-kilter tension of broken beat with straight-up house grooves. Imagining oneself lost in a sweaty root-down is effortless when listening to this mix, which features artists like Domu, Osunlade, Peven Everett, Dego and I.G. Culture. Read more » 

Review: Krazy Knockout

Label: Greensleeves

Krazy scores a victory over Knockout with a melodic whistle and tricky break, leaving Knockout cold and chaotic. Knockout indeed scorches the sonics with a shrill electric burst backed by busy handclaps and hi-toms, thereby getting the most balanced treatment by Mr. Vegas's squeaky-clean crooning on It's "Raining" and TOK Read more » 

Review: Danger Mouse and Jemini Conceited Bastard EP

Label: Lex

Just another reason to suspect that the forthcoming Danger Mouse and Jemini LP will be the best release of 2003. So funky and soulful, DM is hip-hop's best-kept production secret right now. On bonafied club-banger "The Only One," he's enlisted a long-lost amazing rapper no-one's heard from in almost 10 years, and given him some amazing beats. The outcome is extraordinary. Read more » 

Review: Klute Lie Cheat and Steal/You Should Be Ashamed

Label: Commercial Suicide

Klute simultaneously goes with the grain and against it on this two-disc set. Despite the dark title, Lie Cheat & Steal kicks off with lush, meandering drum & bass, awash in synthetic strings and airy melodies underpinned by sturdy, dancefloor-ready breaks and bass. The tracks are beautifully arranged, stately and atmospheric-entirely what listeners have come to expect from this d&b stalwart. On the second CD, Klute veers off the beaten path, serving up leftfield breaks, early-'90s techno and swirling downtempo, among other genres. Read more » 

Review: Ruxpin Magrathea

Label: Mikrolux

Jonas Thor Gudmundsson may not be friends with Bj?rk, but I have to write this fact anyway, as all journalists are bound by a secret sect of government-sponsored Icelandic elves to reference her at every possible corollary. Undaunted, Ruxpin starts out like any number of incestuously similar Elektro/Mikrolux releases, offering muscle-relaxing synths and clickity percussion, before "Magrathea" erupts into a luculent world of deep bass and perspicaciously layered microscopic aural details, trailblazed by complex rhythmic expeditions. Read more » 

Review: Billy Dalessandro Midievalization

Label: Resopal

Italy's Billy D drops his seventh release on Resopal, the solid new label run by Frank Elting and Stephan Lieb (MRI, Konvex|Konkav), and it's a dark, sultry stormer perfectly in line with Resopal's moody MO. Touched up with Teutonic oom-pah and slathered with Chicago acid, Midievalization eats away at you, especially on tracks like the wickedly funky "Show Yourself" and the appropriately named "At the Razor's Edge," where propulsive syncopations and buzzing, schizo inflections beat back reason with a backhand slap. Fans of Areal and Festplatten, agitate wildly. Read more » 

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