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Review: Deetron Music Over Matter

Label: Music Man

It's taken eight years, but Swiss techno producer Deetron (a.k.a. Sam Geiser) has finally released his sophomore album. In that nearly decade-long stretch, his sound has changed considerably, moving away from the Detroit-inspired sci-fi techno and deep house that characterized his work in the late '90s and early '00s. The past few years in particular have seen him embrace a more pop-oriented approach rooted in traditional songcraft, with collaborative works alongside artists like Seth Troxler and Hercules & Love Affair. Music Over Matter is an extension of this recent side of his discography, emphasizing these qualities by incorporating a large number of guest vocalists and co-producers to make an LP that feels like his most accessible to date. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 10/30/2013

Review: Mount Kimbie CSFLY Remixes

Label: Warp

Considering the critical hosannas that met the duo's first album, Crooks and Lovers, the reception for Mount Kimbie's second album has been a bit lukewarm. These CSFLY Remixes seem almost like a corrective, recruiting three purposely of-the-moment remixers—Detroit's hyped MPC mangler Kyle Hall, Hamburg's evergreen DJ Koze, and crushworthy reshaper Lee Gamble—to put any doubts about the pair's relevance to bed. This EP doesn't fully succeed in this regard, and is more interesting for this shortcoming. Granted, nothing in particular was wrong with Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, which neither stagnated nor pushed into uncomfortable territory outside of the group's wheelhouse; the LP was essentially another installment of Mount Kimbie's sweet, quotidian, yet rhythmically involved contribution to the mournful side of UK bass. This EP is guilty of overreaching in a way the album wasn't, but it's not without its delights. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 10/30/2013

Review: Benjamin Damage 4600 EP

Label: 50Weapons

Benjamin Damage is a pretty good techno alias, though it's somewhat misleading considering the UK-born, Berlin-based producer's music. It may deliver a cinder block to the head, but he's taken the time to hand-felt the surface. That means we're just as likely to encounter one of his cuts in Cassy's sublime, Ibiza-informed Fabric 71 mix as in the company of Modeselektor's hand-picked 50Weapons rave-wrecking crew. Given that, we can either choose to read the toughened-up sound of his 4600 EP as a reaction against certain reviews of his debut LP, Heliosphere, which accused him of sacrificing depth for range, or simply as the kind of concentration demanded by an EP, particularly one based around the sound of the rare ETI 4600 synth. Either way, it's hard to argue with the results, as the record offers three tracks of Damage at his most punishing and one of him at his most lulling. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 10/30/2013

Review: Simian Mobile Disco Tong Zi Dan

Label: Delicacies

Tong Zi Dan. It’s a name that seems innocuous enough. However, on close inspection it's much more grotesque; translating to "virgin boy eggs," it's a Chinese delicacy that consists of partially cracked eggs boiled in the urine of prepubescent school boys. This is the latest acquired taste that UK duo Simian Mobile Disco has decided to use for its Delicacies imprint, a label whose tech-house-informed EPs are all named after nausea-inducing edibles—past works have carried titles like "Casu Marzu" (a maggot-infested Italian cheese) and "Hakari (Shark Cheese)" (an Icelandic rotten shark dish). These names suggest something different from the norm: something special, abrasive, or differentiated by cultivated taste. However, the music contained within this EP is much less distinct. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 10/29/2013

Review: Skream "Rollercoaster"

Label: Rinse

The recent transition of Croydon dubstep pioneer Skream (a.k.a. Oliver Jones) towards disco and house has been greeted with a fair bit of consternation in some circles. It's not particularly hard to see why this is the case, given the magnitude of the producer's departure from dubstep and the coinciding resurgent popularity of house and garage in the UK, but in many ways, the move shouldn't be all that surprising. The producer has already experienced substantial commercial success with Magnetic Man—the trio consisting of himself, Benga, and Artwork—has remixed Duke Dumont's huge pop-house hit "Need U," and has spent most of his recent interviews banging on about how tired he is of playing dubstep while professing his love for disco and house. If the buoyant disco beats of "Rollercoaster"—which features Sam Frank on vocals—don't come entirely as a shock though, what is surprising is just how conventional they sound. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 10/29/2013

Review: Dense & Pika Colt

Label: Hotflush

The output of London duo Dense & Pika (a.k.a. Chris Spero and Alex Jones of Hypercolour) has thus far been brutally simplistic in its approach and execution—essentially, it's dark warehouse techno driven by in-the-red drum sounds with a heavy emphasis on sub-frequencies. The pair's third release for Scuba's Hotflush label, the four-track Colt EP, finds Dense & Pika gradually stretching the running times of their tracks and adding subtle new flavors to their productions. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 10/29/2013

Review: Laurel Halo Chance of Rain

Label: Hyperdub

Laurel Halo's remarkable debut full-length for Hyperdub, Quarantine, proved divisive upon its release last year, largely due to the album's stark, abrasive treatment of the Brooklyn resident's vocals. Since the release of that record though, Halo has shied away from using her voice, and her most recent EP, Behind the Green Door, eschewed the use of vocals entirely. Her full-length follow-up to Quarantine continues this trend, and finds the producer—on pace with her recent live sets—embracing a wonky sort of techno that falls somewhere between the sonic range she has been exploring under the King Felix moniker, and the dense, instrumental abstraction that has come to be expected from a Laurel Halo release. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 10/28/2013

Review: Mr. Beatnick The Synthetes Trilogy

It's unlikely that Mr. Beatnick often finds himself short on ideas. Though his output has not been particularly prolific over the past few years, the Londoner's productions have consistently been given free reign to exist just about anywhere on the spectrum of disco-flecked, sample-based, acid-tinged deep house—the sort that has more in common with outfits like Black Jazz Consortium or Metro Area than the bass-focused variants favored by many of his UK counterparts. Despite his diverse tastes, the Synthetes Trilogy is a rather cohesive effort. Built from Mr. Beatnick's three-EP series (Synthetes, Sun Goddess, and Savannah) that began back in 2011, along with a handful of new productions, the 12-track long-player helps connect the dots between the producer's varied styles. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 10/28/2013

Review: Cupp Cave NVMB

Label: Ramp

Belgium's Cupp Cave (a.k.a. Franz Baker) is one of the most intriguing voices to emerge in what might be termed the post-Actress milieu, a generation of producers who subsist on dusted, off-kilter arrangements and sidechain-compression trickery. The artist just seems to have better groove awareness than most of his contemporaries, and as a result, one gets the sense that many of his tracks would stand up even without their experimental production values. NVMB, Baker's latest EP, is certainly not a grand statement, but it's no detriment to his reputation either. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 10/25/2013

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