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Review: JTC Valley Road (We Are 1)

Longtime Michigan producer Tadd Mullinix can be counted upon to bring a certain degree of knowledge to his tracks—historical, practical, or otherwise. Whether he is recording as Dabrye or James T. Cotton (or any of several other aliases, spanning an array of genres), it's usually pretty evident that Mullinix has spent some time considering the nuances of his tracks, as they seldom feel dashed-off. Too much thought often hampers a dance track's clout, but the producer manages to avoid that pitfall on Valley Road (We Are 1), his latest 12". Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/19/2013

Review: Logos Cold Mission

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Label: Keysound

Like much of the music Martin "Blackdown" Clark backs via his Keysound label, there is an aspect of the throwback to Logos. The key aspect of the London producer's sound has been Wiley's eski beat (and his accompanying, beatless "devil" or "bass" mixes), a decade-old sound characterized by cuttingly luminous synthesizer and inside-out rhythms—tunes that have been gutted other than a hi-hat or a bass pulse (or a laser, or a gun cocking), with the rest of the percussion coming erratically. Eski is still present on Cold Mission, Logos' debut album, though he has also claimed luminary drum & bass label Metalheadz and drum & bass act 4Hero as influences. He's even more explicit about his reverence in the record's press release: "A lot of the album is informed by nostalgia for pirate-radio grime and the sense of loss I feel for that period—2002 felt like a much simpler time." This much looking backward could kill a lesser artist, but somehow, even after all of his consideration of the past, Logos has managed to craft an incredibly vital LP. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/18/2013

Review: Arkist "Summer Shimmer" b/w "Whipper Snapper"

Label: Apple Pips

Bristol producer Adam Gazla (a.k.a. Arkist) knows his way around dubstep, drone, garage, and minimal bass, but for his latest single on Apple Pips, he's elected to embrace discoteque bliss with two upbeat, physical crowdpleasers. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/18/2013

Review: Kowton "H-Street" b/w "Helsinki Sunrise"

Label: Pale Fire

As much as Joe Cowton has really solidified his style of punchy dance music in the last few years, every Kowton release still has a feeling of unpredictability. His drum patterns are usually abstract, stuttering structures, and tend to be coupled with subby pressure and influences from grime. Cowton has applied this foundation to an array of sides, though: moody slow house, urgent steppers, and even a remix of R&B singer Jeremih. "H-Street" b/w "Helsinki Sunrise," the latest 12" on his own Pale Fire label, leans toward the more bracing side of his repertoire. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/15/2013

Review: Pearson Sound HES026

Pearson Sound (a.k.a David Kennedy) has never been shy about putting rhythm ahead of melody. His previous releases are a testament to this drum-centric approach, as he's made careful, nuanced maneuvers while figuring out how to strip back any unnecessary elements so that only a bare backbone is left behind. His most recent offering for Hessle Audio, the label he co-runs with Ben UFO and Pangaea, is the three-track HES026, a short but substantial EP that finds Pearson Sound experimenting with the density of his tracks. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/15/2013

Review: Ital Tek Control

Label: Planet Mu

Over the past five years, Planet Mu regular Ital Tek (a.k.a. Alan Myson) has dabbled in genres ranging from bass music to horror-soundtrack-indebted house. Since 2011's Gonga EP, however, his infatuation with the rapid-fire rhythms of drum & bass have generally been his primary mode of sonic expression. Last year's Nebula Dance saw the Brighton, UK-based producer fully delving into footwork and jungle, and his new "mini-album," Control, is a chance to poke at those sounds' edges. Throughout the EP's eight tracks, Myson combines 160-bpm percussion and ambient textures while crafting a sleek, 25-minute listening experience. Nevertheless, despite his history of dynamism, Control is more of a refinement than a revolution. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/14/2013

Review: Fis Homologous

Label: Void Coms

As far as genre is concerned, New Zealand producer Fis (a.k.a. Oliver Peryman) refreshingly doesn't give listeners much to go on. His EPs have been loosely lumped in with drum & bass, if only because of tempo, but Peryman is about as close to that genre as Shackleton (a close reference point) is to dubstep. Like Shackleton, Peryman creates off-kilter, claustrophobic compositions, which are typically laced with some hints at occult ritual. The two tracks (and brief interlude) on Homologous, his latest 12", do just this. Beyond that comparison, it's safe to say there are not many artists who sound even remotely like him. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/14/2013

Review: Recondite Hinterland

Label: Ghostly

Though relatively new as a producer, Recondite (a.k.a. Lorenz Brunner) quickly began turning the heads of minimalist dance-music fans once his first singles began to appear in 2011. Last year's On Acid was especially notable, a reimagination of acid house that sounded little like anything usually associated with that genre. (Recondite's use of 303 was particularly unconventional.) Now, the German artist has found a new home at Ghostly, and made a record that is even more spare and subtle. Hinterland offers 11 cuts of minimal techno inspired by the landscapes of Lower Germany, where Brunner grew up. Over the LP's runtime, Recondite rarely varies from his bare-bones palette as he patiently works his way through ambient, techno, and house variations. Still, the record manages to come across as a remarkably patient, mature, and, at times, emotionally stirring body of work. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/13/2013

Review: Magic Touch Nothing More EP

Label: True Romance

As one of the first artists to release music on Not Not Fun's sister label 100% Silk, the reputation of recent Los Angeles transplant Magic Touch (a.k.a. Damon Palermo) might be forever tied to the murky disco and house approximations embodied by that label. For Palermo's latest release though, the producer has opted issue an EP via Tensnake's new True Romance imprint. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/13/2013

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