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Sleeparchive A Man Dies in the Street Pt.2

Label: Tresor

Regis and Function credit the first release from Sleeparchive (a.k.a. Roger Semsroth) as the inspiration around which Sandwell District formed. Released in 2004, Elephant Island has aged well, and its impact on Sandwell District's 2010 album Feed-Forward is clear. Nearly a decade has passed since Semroth's influential debut first surfaced, yet the man still hasn't changed his template. This is his second offering from the A Man Dies in the Street series, EPs inspired by the Brassaï photographs of the same name, and it finds Semsroth so focused on pursuing the formal core of the Sleeparchive project that he doesn't bother to invite listeners in. This is loop techno with no exit and minimal acknowledgement of anything outside of itself. Calling these tracks DJ tools sounds too social. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/22/2013

Nils Frahm Spaces

Over the past few years, Berlin-based composer/pianist Nils Frahm has gained a very much deserved repuatiation as a compelling live performer. In the process, he has helped to rekindle what for many in the electronic-music community was a somewhat dimly lit flame for modern classical compositions. Offering recordings from a variety of Frahm's live performances captured over the past two years, Spaces accurately reveals him to be not only an extremely talented pianist, but also a performer who's able to adapt to his surroundings with grace and purpose. Still, hearing Frahm's performances after the fact does not prove to be quite as spellbinding of an experience as watching the man live, making Spaces a record that will no doubt appeal to the musician's existing fans, but may not necessarily be the best place to start for those new to his sound. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/21/2013

L.B. Dub Corp Unknown Origin

Label: Ostgut Ton

Luke Slater's music has probably been described, at more than one party, as "techno that girls could like." That's a problematic statement in some ways, but let's put it aside since it's for reasons that have nothing to do with Slater. The techno veteran's latest album—as L.B. Dub Corp, for Ostgut Ton—is almost incapable of alienating or offending any listener. It's not a genre-bound statement, which is well enough for someone whose discography runs so deep that making a statement is beside the point. Unknown Origin's accessibility is an organic one, and it doesn't come from him trying to be polite or "reach an audience." A lot of listeners simply agree with his ideas about what makes for good music, ideas he might not even be able to articulate. He's just on a positive vibe—there's nothing smarmy about his work, and we're certainly not suggesting that he's sitting behind a mixing console, rubbing his hands together and hissing "girlssssss." Techno is sometimes a too-serious world, and there's a lightness to this album that's as energizing as its machine rhythms. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/21/2013

Torus Feeel

Joeri Woudstra (a.k.a. Torus) is a young Dutch producer with clear intent behind his lilting, organic beats. With Feeel—which is being delivered both as an eight-song digital release (that includes two remixes) and a truncated 7" single—he limits the sonic palette to only a few options, mostly relying on homemade percussion and field-recorded ambience to set the mood for his sedate instrumentals. In doing so, Woudstra's restrained EP winds up sounding like the stony offspring of LA beatmaker Samiyam and Bad Vibes-era Shlohmo, though he makes less of an effort to delineate between cuts than those hazy producers. What instead emerges is a series of similarly captured moments, in the form of tracks, that often seem to successfully slow down time by virtue of their placid, unflappable direction. Without question, Woudstra's work is intriguing; however, when the EP is viewed as a whole, the isolated moments or feelings he expresses appear somewhat less significant, mainly because of his self-imposed sonic rules. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/21/2013

Objekt Objekt #3

Label: Objekt

Resuming his self-titled white-label series, Berlin-based producer Objekt has issued the follow-up to his excellent 2012 single for Hessle Audio, "Cactus" b/w "Porcupine." While that record traded in a heady blend of dubstep wobble and stepping rhythms, the Objekt #3 single changes things up with two far more aggressive, considerably more techno-influenced cuts. This is not say Objekt #3's two tracks are any more straightforward, as both exhibit unique and unpredictable convergences between skittering, syncopated rhythms and raw techno. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/20/2013

Legowelt Crystal Cult 2080 Sampler EP

Legowelt (a.k.a. Danny Wolfers) has been enjoying something of a hot streak recently. Between last year's excellent full-length for Clone Jack for Daze, The Paranormal Soul, the Unknown to the Unknown-released Star Gazing EP, and a brand-new 12" on L.I.E.S., the prolific Dutch producer seems to have settled into his latest incarnation as someone who explores the deeper strains of Chicago and Detroit house and techno. The only downside of this is that it's now easier than ever to predict what a new Legowelt release will entail—usually some combination of brittle drum programming, chugging, acid-informed basslines, and a cosmic, iridescent synth sheen. All of these elements are present on the limited-edition 12" that precedes the producer's forthcoming Crystal Cult 2080 full-length for Creme Organization, the Hague-based label that boasts Legowelt's 2003 Reports from the Backseat Pimp LP as one of its early releases. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/20/2013

White Visitation Ancestors

White Visitation (a.k.a. Nicolas Guerrero) is an artist from Mexico City whose music is not especially classifiable. Guerrero offers elements of dub techno, but, crucially, executes them with a refreshing simplicity. (Dub techno is frequently maligned for being plodding and overproduced.) He also spices his tracks with organic instrumentation, often in unlikely (but rarely jarring) ways. The producer surfaced on the Opal Tapes compilation Cold Holiday last winter, and had his self-released cassettes Tape 1 and Tape 3 sold through the RVNG Intl. online shop (there's a third called Dubs), but Ancestors is the first time he has actually put out a record on a label. Its three tracks are in line with the material on those prior efforts. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/20/2013

Emptyset Recur

Over the course of its career—which has included three full-lengths and numerous EPs thus far—Emptyset has repeatedly raised the question of just how far minimal techno can be abstracted before it becomes something else entirely. The interest of the Bristolian duo in exploring sonic space and specificity—which has been apparent since the outfit dropped its first, self-titled album of dense, layered techno in 2009—was solidified on its most recent album, Medium, an LP constructed using source material from and elements composed entirely within a rural mansion in Cotswolds, England. Earlier this year, the pair offered up the Material EP, which explored the sonic environments of a decommissioned nuclear power plant, an underground concrete testing bunker, and a 22-mile medieval mine. Recur operates within this framework, although it eschews an overt focus on particular locations. Instead, it seems to be thematizing something much closer to the pure sonic dynamics of sound itself. As the press release states, Recur "examines the central themes of time, structure, and recursion, through the analysis of scale and the interaction of both formal and fractured sonics." Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/19/2013

John Heckle Desolate Figures

Label: Tabernacle

Liverpool's John Heckle rarely strays from his pounding, overdriven production formula, but he manages to incorporate a lot of different styles on his records anyway, particularly in terms of his melodies, which can verge on the otherworldly. Desolate Figures is his second LP after a string of well-received singles, and it contains a welcome set for followers of his approach. While diverse, Heckle does not venture into drastically new territory on its eight tracks. He also largely eschews the fetching interludes that have dotted his past efforts—there is nothing as hooky as "A Basement (Interlude)" (a standout piece from his debut LP, 2011's The Second Son) here. Desolate Figures succeeds at presenting the producer in no-nonsense mode, "all guns blazing," as he says. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 11/19/2013

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