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Review: Juju & Jordash "Waldorf Salad" b/w "Third Planet from Altair"

Label: Dekmantel

On their releases for Dekmantel, Golf Channel, and a handful of other labels, Gal "Juju" Aner and Jordan "Jordash" Czamanski have favored abstraction over linearity, the sudden surprise of a wrong note to predictable perfect pitch. Their skill with delirious breakdowns and eccentric timbral shifts peaked on 2012's Techno Primitivism, which satisfied an increasing demand from many listeners for music that sounded like it was on the edge of collapse rather than encased in Lucite. Presenting a warped alternative to the slick-and-sleepy deep house of the moment, the diversity and sheer fun of Techno Primitivism elevated Juju & Jordash to new levels of critical acclaim; the pair's wonky, unrehearsed live sets have even become increasingly common on the international festival circuit. At its best, the duo's music is improvisation without academic suffocation, and asserts abstraction as a capable party-starter. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 02/12/2014

Review: Thug Entrancer Death After Life

Label: Software

Relatively unknown until last fall, Ryan McRyhew (a.k.a. Thug Entrancer) first found his footing as a budding artist in Denver's spirited experimental scene, crafting a range of ambient synthscapes and chilly, percussive workouts for his self-released Tropics Mind EP series. In 2011, he relocated to Chicago's south side; culling new inspiration from the city's bubbling footwork and juke scene, he took some of that intense local energy and injected it into his own conceptual, hardware-based approach. With a fresh artistic perspective, McRyhew then created Death After Life—his debut LP for the Software imprint, a Brooklyn label driven by the meta, idiosyncratic style of its primary curator, Daniel Lopatin. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 02/11/2014

Review: Illum Sphere Ghosts of Then and Now

Label: Ninja Tune

Over the past several years, Manchester producer and Hoya:Hoya co-founder Ryan Hunn (a.k.a. Illum Sphere) assembled a fairly impressive resume for himself, even before he was signed to Ninja Tune. Still, the venerable British label—responsible for over two decades of underground staples, and more recent standouts from the likes of Machinedrum, FaltyDL, and Slugabed—took something of a leap of faith by bringing Hunn into the fold, as he had yet to prove himself with a full-length. It's also debatable whether Ninja Tune is an appropriate home for Illum Sphere, whose music holds little of the playful, dub-inspired vibe that stamps most of the label's releases, and instead takes itself rather seriously. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 02/10/2014

Review: Jerome LOL Deleted/Fool EP

When LOL Boys went on indefinite hiatus towards the tail end of 2012, it was genuinely disappointing. The duo's Changes EP, which had been released only a month prior, had achieved an impressive balance between kitsch and sophistication with its particular brand of chilled-out '90s house influences, jazzy chords, and genuinely affecting guest vocal performances. Nevertheless, fans of LOL Boys have likely taken solace in the flurry of activity from Jerome LOL in the year following the group's separation. Apart from maintaining an active presence as the co-founder of the consistently excellent Body High label, the Los Angeles-based producer has issued a steady stream of free downloads, mixes, compilation tracks, and remixes, all of which have seen him exploring an inventive range of styles, including ambient-leaning tracks, pop edits, and a continuation of the melodic but abstract territory once covered by LOL Boys. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 02/05/2014

Review: Dusky "9T8"

Label: School

Together as Dusky, Alfie Granger-Howell and Nick Harriman have formed an uncommonly dependable partnership. With each Dusky record that has surfaced since 2011, listeners and—perhaps more importantly—DJs have learned that the London pair could be counted on for at least one effective (and usually rather catchy) garage/bass/house hybrid per effort. With its first release of 2014, Dusky has come up with another piece of well-mannered club music, taking only the smallest steps outside of its comfort zone in the process. The outfit's dependability may be unshaken as a result, but "9T8" is ultimately far from exciting. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 01/31/2014

Review: Terrence Parker Life on the Back 9

Label: Planet E

Few followers of electronic music need reminding that Detroit spawned a techno monster in the 1980s. But house music was also blowing up in the city at that time, and could be heard at backyard parties on the west side, on the lawns of Belle Isle Park along the Detroit River, and in clubs where disco ruled in the decade before. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 01/30/2014

Review: The White Lamp "Ride with You"

Label: Hotflush

After decades in the game, Darren Emerson has been on something of a roll in recent years. His recent collaborations with vocalist Peter Josef as The White Lamp have resulted in releases for labels such as Sonar Kollektiv and Futureboogie, and now the pair has come up with "Ride with You," its first outing on Scuba's Hotflush imprint. Interestingly enough, Emerson wrapped up his 2013 with a solo EP marking his debut for John Digweed's Bedrock Records, and in some ways, it's hard to decide which effort is most surprising. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 01/30/2014

Review: JETS featuring Jamie Lidell Midas Touch

This is only the second release from Jimmy Edgar and Travis Stewart (a.k.a. Machinedrum) as JETS following their superb self-titled debut EP from 2012. Despite both artists residing in Berlin in the time since (Stewart has very recently moved back to the US), it's not surprising that they've found limited opportunities to get together and record a follow-up. Demanding tour schedules, getting a new label off the ground (their co-curated Ultramajic), and recording one of last year's best albums (Machinedrum's Vapor City) would take up a lot of anyone's time, and in many ways, this enjoyable cover version of Midnight Star's much-loved 1986 synth-funk hit "Midas Touch" is a neat embodiment of the limited time both artists presumably had to devote to its creation. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 01/29/2014

Review: Cooly G Hold Me EP

Label: Hyperdub

Cooly G (a.k.a. Merissa Campbell) has always been a difficult producer to pin down. Between her self-released Dub Organizer EPs and early singles for Hyperdub, the South London producer was one of the first to effectively blur the boundaries between UK funky, garage, house, and dubstep, injecting an ineffable quality into the mix with her simultaneously icy and emotive voice. Campbell's releases have often had one foot firmly situated on the London dancefloor and the other in deep, dubby, and sometimes decidedly song-based territory. Her Hyperdub debut, "Narst" b/w "Love Dub," is an excellent example, as it paired the aggressive, grimey a-side with the slower, 2-step-inflected balladry of "Love Dub." While her music has always balanced between these poles, what has made Cooly G so compelling to listen to over the years is the way these two sides consistently worm their way into the same tune—even at its most insistent and tracky, Campbell's music is suffused with a smokey ephemerality that is entirely her own. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 01/29/2014

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