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Review: Strategy Strut

Label: Outward Music C

You'd think that with a title like Strut, Strategy's debut would be bursting with big swaggering sounds. Instead, Strategy's point of pride seems to be in his wide palette of rather small though stylishly melded beats. "Fuck It, Baby" is tiny, kicky dance music-IDM for toy soldiers-and "Splash" starts out with sweet patterned beats that get rubbed away by light swipes of sandpaper. "Delicious" builds into a muted, watery reverb, an amniotic lullaby similar in tone to "The Sea Is So Cold." From the budding Portland experimental electronic scene, Strategy shouts proud. Read more » 

Review: Matthew Dear Ep 1 & 2

Label: Spectral Sound

You can't help but think you're listening to some strange history on these two bits of vinyl. Ann Arbor boy Dear neatly disabuses techno of its orthodoxy, either by sucking it into the void ? la Coil on "Laguna Madre," snapping it like a sugar pea on "Reae," stuffing it into a cave on "Lakonic," or simply muffling the whole whiny mess under his shoe on "Pinch & Pillage." Ten tracks for the whispered end of history. Read more » 

Review: Libretto Dirty Thangs

Label: One Drop

With fat backing from Lifesavas producer Jumbo, former Watts resident Libretto brings irresistibly scruffy flow to Portland dub label BSI's hip-hop imprint One Drop. On the East Coast-ish title tune, Lib rhymes of street struggle and "low times on the brain" over a guitar-plucking monster beat, while the flip's "Alma Mater" harkens back to golden-age SoCal G-funk. Hot. Read more » 

Review: Dub Tractor More Or less Mono

Label: City Centre Offices

With More Or Less Mono, Dub Tractor (a.k.a. Anders Remmer of Future 3 fame) pulls off a compelling and surprisingly delicate fusion of minimal techno, experimental glitch and heartbreaking melodies, all with a distinctively effortless air. Remmer sticks to an intriguing formula of snarled drum loops, random machine noise and sharp crackles, all wrapped up in hazy synths, dubbed-out effects and acoustic instrumentals. But he also exhibits an admirable sense of restraint. Read more » 

Review: H-Foundation Environments

Label: Soma

With Environments, Hipp-e and Halo have taken their trademark dubby, West Coast house beats and sharpened them up with a slick, Euro-cool patina and a hefty amount of leftfield influences. From the smart soul vocals on "Soul Searchin'" to the nu-jazz/broken-beat-influenced "Feelin'" and the filtered disco groove of "New Funk Theory," these boys are taking house music for a spin. Read more » 

Review: DJ Love Pusshin' Buttons

Label: Stellar Music

With all that retrogressive bootleg/mash-up crap still clogging up the culture, surely there's room for an original disco-breaks jam that folds in old-school house piano chords, the "Good Times" string stab, and Shalamar's "Make That Move"? Or have we lost our souls in easy-peasy cut 'n' paste-ism? If ya don't feel the a-side, flip for "Steady Fire"'s bass-heavy, ragga-infused ska/breakstep opus. Murder tune! Read more » 

Review: Fiona Renshaw Love In a Bubble

Label: Laws of Motion-Sirkus

With a hot-asphalt delivery that sounds like she could be the offspring of Janis Joplin and Joe Cocker, Fiona Renshaw spins tales of mourned love and unrequited desire that range from quiet lament to palpable anger. "Through the Day" stands out, as Renshaw's cloudy river of a voice is offset by plaintive, soulful synth lines in one of the few tracks that don't follow a strictly acoustic blueprint (is this what broken folk sounds like?). Read more » 

Review: Various 2CDS & MP3s

Label: Novamute

With 16 tracks and 28 MP3s spanning two CDs, this compilation doubles as not only a Novamute "state of the union" overview, but also as a statement on disunion. Compiling tracks mostly previously released on vinyl while conversely indicating a future of digital in/digital out (contrary to many labels), Novamute here offers not only mirrored MP3s, but exclusive MP3s. Alongside crisp configurations of post-industrial/electro/acid (house) sounds by Tim Wright, Umek, S.I. Read more » 

Review: Supremeex Nun_Type

Label: Hiero Imperium

While the dialogue samples on this album will give you an idea of the issues being touched on-magic, technology, and their intersections and oppositions-the music itself pushes the theme forward even more. Take "Destruction": the pounding drums conjure images of machines at work, raucously efficient, while the melodic samples give the rhythm an ethereal feel. The overall effect is aggressive but spiritual. For vocals, Tajai of Souls of Mischief swings through to drop some very impressive rhymes, and Goapele lends her pipes to a chorus as well. Read more » 

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