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Review: Aphex Twin 26 Mixes for Cash

Label: Warp

IDM icon Richard D. James has never hidden his mercenary tendencies. Despite (or because of) this crassness, Aphex Twin has cranked out some of his most interesting-and absurd-music while tweaking other artists' tracks. The range of people remixed on 26 Mixes For Cash is astonishing, and it allows James to unveil many facets of his musical arsenal. Read more » 

Review: Dr. Oop Capone and the Black Love Crew Mad Hueman Disease

Label: Black Love

If you're down with the LA underground hip-hop scene, you already know that Dr. Oop is one of its most talented proponents. If you've been sleeping, here's your wake-up call. Mad Hueman Disease's Afro-futurist b-boy jams might earn the backpack tag, but the Black Love crew shows there's no need to be ashamed of that. There is indeed a method to the Good Doctor's madness, one that involves basement beats, sci-fi skits and brain-lifting lyrics. Rhymes like who wanna screw with the ganja guru/bumpin "Black Uhuru?" might be battle-worthy, but should be taken tongue-in-cheek. Read more » 

Review: Antenne #2

Label: Korm Plastics

How many times can one hear the words "beautiful," "breathtaking," or "brilliant" before those words are sapped entirely of any meaning? One listen to Antenne's #2 and all words will have ceased to have meaning. Sounding in totality like nothing else and achieving an arresting level of melancholy romance, there are clear reference points: traces of glitch production, merged with blues and jazz instrumentation, and filtered through the slow-core sensibilities of bands like Low led by Marie-Louise Munck's transcendental voice. Truly remarkable. Read more » 

Review: Hagedom Homegrown

Label: Onitor

Germany's Wolfgang Hagedron embellishes his debut album of subtle microhouse with his own unique nuances, which give Homegrown an interior life similar to the galactic funkiness conjured by artists like Detroit's Jeff Mills and Model 500. Homegrown lays analog tones over house beats on tracks like "Pause," where the minimal groove is underpinned by sleazy reverbed keyboards. "Oblidow" bookmarks this warm tech-soul affair with crunchy, pulsing house rhythms so dense they form elastic supports for a funky alert network that sends its warnings by synthesizer. Read more » 

Review: Corven Dalek Wet and Hard

Label: Flesh

Has nothing changed in the past ten years of massive-targeting techno? I was hoping for something a little more intuitive, so maybe it's my fault, but I'd swear that this same set was released in mix tape format by hundreds of kids who thought they were rebellious trendsetters way back when. Dalek's 16-song mix consists mainly of his own tracks, with various versions of his "hits" like "Pornoground" and "A Real Man." Maybe this will actually be a grand entrance into electronic music for someone somewhere, but it's just been added to my Goodwill box. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Destination: Out

Label: Ecco Chamber

Future jazz has always seemed to me a sleek soundtrack for a utopia in which no one sweats, spills, or has visible pores. In this world, everyone jetsets while wearing unrumpled white and listens to Destination: Out, a smooth cocktail of cosmopolitan broken beat and downtempo, featuring artists from Europe, Russia and Japan. Burbling with effortless good taste, the two-disc compilation features gentle magic from Cuica, Jimpster and Bobby Hughes Combination. Departing slightly from the beguiling "Braziliance" burble, A.L.S.M.'s track just hints at turbulence over windswept steppes. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Africanism Project

Label: Defected-Yellow

France's Africanism label has become a firm focus for anyone with an ear for truly great house music, and now all those who devote themselves to playing catch-up rather than discovery can find out why. Spread across two CDs elegantly mixed by DJ Gregory and Bob Sinclair, this collection impresses from the very first beat to the very last snare. From the tribal holler of Gregory's own "Tropical Soundclash" to the more laid-back vibes of John Ciafone's Spanish guitar-tinged "Majito," there's not a track on here that's not a born and bred winner. Read more » 

Review: Friction and Nu Balance Burn Down

Label: Blade

Friction rubs up against the bassbins for Charge sublabel Blade, generating some heat with "Burn Down," which takes Digitalesque retro boom/clack-style beats and pairs them up with dramatic machine growls, a beeping melody and pounding bass. Flip for "Turmoil," a predictable techy roller that evokes vintage Stakka & Skynet. Read more » 

Review: L'ombre Medicine for the Meaningless

Label: Ant-Zen

Formerly an industrial noise label, Ant-Zen continues to push its reputation into new territories with artists like David Thrussell (a.k.a. Snog), Squaremeter (the erstwhile German terror junglist Panacea), and now L'ombre. Based in Canada, Stephen Sawyer's L'ombre debut moves nimbly between the harsh post-industrial landscape of Ant-Zen's back catalog and a stereographic ambience, where seemingly planar wisps of sound lurch into your listening space as if from thin air. Read more » 

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