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Review: Various Artists Toast & Jam 9

Label: Toast and Jam

Portland electro goes cruising for a bruising. Ten artists stumble around a house of sharp metallic corners and unforgiving doorframes in the dark, accumulating the sonic equivalent of scrapes and cuts. By far the most intriguing tracks are the ones that are the most energetically masochistic: Solenoid's "Genclone 4" lurches out of every groove as soon as it settles into it, smacking itself brutally around. "She's A Doctor, Too" and "Monkey Feet," both by ML, are the most compelling, full of swaggering postures and sly hooks. Read more » 

Review: P'taah Staring at the Sun

Label: Ubiquity

P'taah is producer Chris Brann's collective, often dubbed "nu jazz," but informed by a deeply ingrained tradition. On the one hand Brann respects tradition, composing soulful house as Ananda Project adhering to 120 BPM, double the heartbeat and intrinsically inspiring. But with P'taah, he seeks to break his own mold, while still following a lineage of compositional clarity that links Erik Satie to funk-jazz fusion to Norwegian experimental expansions. P'taah's earliest output was expressive but felt more encumbered by its agenda. Read more » 

Review: Otto Von Schirach Chopped Zombie Fungus

Label: Schematic

Over the past few years "glitch" has come into its own, weaning from the teat of academia. No doubt glitch is still a navel-gazing breast man, but now an eye's turned to the bootay, at least via Cuban-American producer Otto Von Schirach. Recording ricocheting rhythm for Schematic, Von Schirach mixes IDM with Miami bass-bred electro and ghetto-tech with gabba in his crispy crystal-packed bowl of baked Chopped Zombie Fungus. He's still plenty glitch, though, as in: Is there a synaptic glitch? Is everything firing a bit off? Read more » 

Review: The Demtrios Project Feel Alive (Jon Cutler Rmxs)

Label: MN2S

Originally released last year, "Feel Alive" gets a timely makeover from NYC's Jon Cutler, who takes the original vocal and works it to great effect over an ultra-deep bass and sweeping pads. Read more » 

Review: Spaztik Emcee Run of the Mill Rmx

Label: Cosmic Flux Musiq

Over a beat that could be "Proceed, Part IV," this Bay Area b-boy drops smoove lyrics like it's '88 and he came to set it straight. With Regina Monique's soft singing on the hook, "Run" merges hip-hop and r&b without shorting either. The flip's "We Three Kings" is a Philly affair, with a bangin' beat by Grand Agent (Mountain Brother) Chops, who also rhymes. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Swearhead Presents: Volume 1

Label: Swear

Once upon a time in a city called London, a shoe company named Swear decided to compile a CD of songs that people in their store frequently inquired about and distribute it, free of charge, to all of their customers. It's a cool idea-you've certainly got to appreciate music to entertain such an endeavor. Read more » 

Review: Illskills Forgive Myself

Label: Critical

On the original of this one, Austria's Dkay and Rawfull come up with a tasty combination of gentle yet grounded female vocals, lovely melodic keyboard melodies, and semi-ravey synth stabs over a festival of "Apache" breaks. So why has Dkay's overdramatic, unecessarily built-up remix of the tune landed on the A-side? Please, next time leave well enough alone and hit us with another track. Read more » 

Review: Seel Fresh Nickelpump

Label: Rapstar

On "Nickel Pimp," Chicago's Seel Fresh explains "the art of gettin' over." Even though Dug Infinite provides the slow, sparse, slamming beat, the b-side's "Generation Lost" wins. The offbeat piano track by Mind has serious nod factor, Noble's scratches are tight, and Seel's frustrated flow fits perfectly. Fo' shickel, my nickel. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Le Future Le Funk

Label: Hooj Choons

Now that record stores are stuck with a glut of mediocre house music mixes, it's encouraging to know some labels are actually trying to inject some new life into the mix-CD genre. UK label Hooj, self-proclaimed occasional providers of "half decent house" fulfills its obligations with the decent Le Future Le Funk. Compiled and mixed by Red Jerry and Ross Cale, Le Future benefits from a wide range of track selections of glitzy, new-school house and techno, featuring Metro Area, Brooks, Swayzak, Mr. Read more » 

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