XLR8R - logo

Reviews

 
 

Joey Anderson Head Down Arms Buddha Position

Label: TANSTAAFL

Compared to compadres like DJ Qu and Levon Vincent, Joey Anderson was something of a late bloomer. Since the wider world has caught on to him, though (thanks in large part to a few well-placed pointers from Vincent on his Fabric 63 mix, not to mention Anderson's seriously shadowy debut LP on Dekmantel earlier this year), he has become one of techno's most singular and standout artists. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/10/2014

Arca Xen

Label: Mute

Over the past few years, Arca (a.k.a. Alejandro Ghersi) has quickly become the poster boy for a clued-in generation of internet producers who pay equal regard to DJ Mustard and Daniel Lopatin. Back in 2011, the Venezuelan immigrant's first major effort was a download-only mixtape (consisting entirely of his own material) that came via web 2.0 mouthpiece DIS magazine. His twisted Stretch releases—which did exactly that to hip-hop forms—followed, as did last year's &&&&&, but it all felt a bit slapdash before Ghersi leveled up and started working with Kanye West, FKA Twigs, Kelela, and now, Bjork. Somehow, Arca has ascended from deviantART to working with the defining artists of our time—it's a Horatio Alger tale for the Ableton set. His solo debut, Xen, arrives on Mute, and comes amid a flurry of press in which the young producer has spoken frankly about his sexuality and stated that Xen is a sexless alter-ego that emerges when he's high. Without question, it's an arty concept album from an musician who's crept more than halfway into the mainstream, but it's also Ghersi's most gorgeous, personal work to date. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/04/2014

Clark Clark

Pick
Label: Warp

Chris Clark has put out records on Warp for about 13 years now, but it would seem that he's one of the label's least appreciated artists. Off-the-cuff references to the long-running imprint almost invariably mention Aphex Twin, Plaid, and Autechre, perhaps because the label remains understood by more casual listeners as an IDM-industrial complex, a hub that's mass-producing electronic music with a specific intent to confuse, confront, and occasionally intimidate. That's patently not the case, and especially not so with Clark. The UK-born, Berlin-based producer makes music that is a bit more accessible than that of some of his more revered labelmates, though his last six albums have absorbed elements of the algorhythmic patterns and strident machine melodies of these artists. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/03/2014

Mouse on Mars 21 Again

Label: Monkeytown

Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner are better placed than most to tackle the uniquely hazardous task of putting out a double album. Mouse on Mars is 21 years old, after all, and so the simply titled 21 Again is a reflection of a hard-won confidence and maturity after more than two decades of making music. During that time, the pair has covered a lot of ground; each Mouse on Mars album has seen the duo explore and absorb a diffuse array of styles and influences that, while mostly electronic by definition, have delved into the outer reaches of post-rock, hip-hop, R&B, noise, and ambient music. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 10/31/2014

DJ Koze Reincarnations Part 2

Pick
Label: Pampa

When it comes to remixes, DJ Koze (a.k.a. Stefan Kozalla) doesn't follow a strict formula. In fact, the only sure thing about his reworks is that they will always be of a certain quality, because the German dance music curio is not someone who simply loads up a trademark Koze synth and lackadaisically layers it in before firing the results back to whoever commissioned his services. On the contrary, Kozalla's remixes run the gamut: some are subtle reworkings, some tease out only the slightest elements of an original, and some are wholly unrecognizable, but that's what makes him great. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 10/29/2014

Dorian Concept Joined Ends

Label: Ninja Tune

When plotting artists' development, most seem to follow a smooth, upward trendline in which talent, songwriting, and personal voice are all developed in unison. However, on occasion, an exceptional talent like Oliver Johnson (a.k.a. Dorian Concept) comes along and carves out a very different path. Early tracks like 2008's "Trilingual Dance Sexperience" and 2009's "The Fucking Formula" showcased an unrestrained, youthful brashness and also proved that Johnson was capable of creating truly exciting and unique music that was simultaneously novel and heady. Several years later, he's returned—following a lengthy period of relative quiet—with his second LP, Joined Ends, and from the album's opening movements, it's apparent that he's learned to rein in his eminent musicianship while producing something that is both cohesive and edited. His voice has caught up to his talent. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 10/28/2014

2562 The New Today

Like many of his peers who first rose to prominence toward the end of the '00s, Dave Huismans hasn't made dubstep for a while now. Prior to 2010, his 2562 alias (he also produces as A Made Up Sound) was a vessel for music that was fast, agile, and rhythmically complex; moreover, his tracks had a lightness to them that seemed in opposition to most dubstep artists at the time, who, to varying degrees, applied reverb and sub-bass in thicker, sploshier strokes. That Huismans has retained the 2562 name in 2014 feels significant, because while he's abandoned the lung-busting 140 bpm tempos—like almost everyone else—his music has retained the bristly textures and smog-like atmospheres of his formative early output on Pinch's Tectonic imprint. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 10/27/2014

Fantastic Mr Fox "You Turn"

Label: Black Acre

Many producers claim to have begun making beats in their early teens, but with Fantastic Mr Fox, one suspects that he really did. After all, just about everything he puts his name on positively leaps out of the speakers, leaving the listener to wonder just how the Berlin-based Brit gets them coated in such a visceral sheen (not to mention why he hasn't crossed over more). With drums that ping with irresistible pop precision, wondrously colorful synths, and glossy, lissom grooves, Fantastic Mr Fox's tunes are translucent, the kinds of tracks that should fill up dancefloors and race out of record stores alike. As such, he's been the jewel in Black Acre's crown since 2009, and with his debut full-length pencilled in for early 2015, that isn't likely to change anytime soon. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 10/24/2014

Huxley Blurred

Label: Aus

A radio-ready UK garage album is a destination that Aus has been heading towards for a while. The eight-year-old imprint is a house label, but most artists on its roster have grown up on a resolutely British diet of dance music. One of its best records, Joy Orbison's The Shrew Would Have Cushioned the Blow EP, is a seminal exchange between melody-rich house and dubstep's asymmetrical gallop, and it gave Aus, and many other labels like it, a renewed confidence about their own heritage. More recently, acts like Dusky and Huxley have offered Aus a route into the sort of easy-on-the-ears house music that has begun to populate the UK's commercial radio playlists. Blurred, then, is an album—the first one Aus has ever released—that confronts both of these ambitions from an artist who is as good a representative as anyone for the label's sound these days. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 10/23/2014

Follow us on...

Get the lowdown weekly newsletter

XLR8R Downloads Player