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Gary Martin Viva la Difference

Label: Exceptional

Detroit-based DJ/producer Gary Martin wisely eschews the four-to-the-floor panic attack in favor of a subtle, nuanced album of floor-filling techno stompers laced with bold brass and synth blips (take "Casa Cugat" and the resonant, percussive insistence of "Cidade Marvilhosa," for instance), stripped-down breakbeat (the oh-so-sexy "Mambo Elektro"), and heart-in-throat, groovy minimal house tunes punctuated by pianos and the occasional vocal sample (check out the freaky goodness of "That's What I'm Talkin Bout"). Read more » 

Various The Remix EP

Label: Texture

Darqwan spotlights his dubstep imprint by putting his "Nocturnal" into the hands of remixer Geeneus, who keeps the bass rumble intact while toughening up the drumbeat. After darkening the wah-bass melody of his own breakstep jam, "Said the Spider," 'qwan spotlights Markone, who gives his own "Tribesmen" an electro-fied, subterranean rub. As they used to tell Baryshnikov: nice package. Read more » 

The Gossip Movement

Label: Kill Rock Stars

Detractors of bitter chick rock will find the Gossip's variant to be a coup de grace. Their new album, Movementbetween Sleater Kinney and the Ramones. But the Gossip gives its forerunners a run for their money: they've balanced catchy handclaps ("Fire/Sign") with gospelly dirges ("All My Days"), and Beth's voice might have been plucked from some coalminer's daughter in a Southern shantytown. The Gossip has a sound that's unlike most garage rock: their songs are as bruising and bluesy as any backporch folk, but appropriately feedback-laced and ardently pissed-off. Read more » 

Patrick Dubois Today

Label: Isoghi

Daniel Erbe's got one hell of an alter-ego. As Patrick Dubois, he creates luscious, minimal techno with a warm, fuzzy center. The bulk of the tunes on Today are heady, atmospheric tracks that throb with emotion and pulsate with an earnestness all too often suppressed in today's more clinical techno works. Erbe's tracks like "Run," "My Cat" and "Sofa" resonate with the gentle, fragile beauty championed by minimal machine-music artists like Norken and Brothomstates. Read more » 

Dakah Hip-Hop Orchestra Unfinished Symphony

Label: Rhythm Room

Dakah lays down the gauntlet for those "producers" who recycle samples, nudge already-hackneyed beats and call the result "hip-hop." The LA-based 60-plus piece orchestra shows the difference live musicians can make on tracks like "Adiago Asiago" (subtitled "Tryin II Sow My Love"), a love song where swelling woodwinds are grounded with unhurried percussion. Another standout is "Invocation of the Duke," where the scratching lets the Latin percussion and string- and horn-laden instrumentation take the foreground. Minor quibble: sometimes the instruments overwhelm the sung and rapped vocals. Read more » 

Smooth S/t

Label: Real Estate

Cram Everything But The Girl, Morcheeba and Portishead into a blender, and you get the endearing, but somewhat derivative, Smooth. This Israeli band does a fine job of creating bleepy electronic soundscapes full of free-wheeling guitar work, shimmering synth lines and meandering melodies, but the end result is hardly captivating. "All Those Feelings" is a lovely piece of post-Radiohead rock and "Fill It Up" fits right into a dark, Generation X-directed TV police drama soundtrack. But the vocal theatrics and intense melodrama begin to wear a bit thin. Read more » 

Various Madlib: Shades of Blue

Label: Bluenote

Crate-digger and storied producer Madlib cooks up a tasty and tasteful chicken soup with Shades of Blue. The album is one part bitches brew: DJ Lord flavors original cuts from Bobby Hutcherson in the joint "Montara." It's one part weak sauce: snare-heavy rock beats collide with lilting flutes in the overly-beefed remix of Otis Jackson Jr.'s "Funky Blue Note." It's one part meat stock: by layering straight hand-claps over liquid vibes, Madlib discovers something haunting and beautiful in Ronnie Foster's "Mystic Brew." Smoke a blunt before listening, and try to get all the nuances. Read more » 

Uultrakurt & Pantytec Barry-Lynn Bronzon

Label: Telegraph

Cabanne and Gluck of Ultrakurt are back with some more crunchy goodness after releasing their solid cut, Post Office," last year and remixing Perlon favorite Pantytec. Zip and Sammy Dee return the favor on this EP, with a great remix of "2 Millimeters" that makes this a French minimal-techno gem. " Read more » 

Mr. G New Blood EP

Label: Shuffle

Colin McBean's main appeal is that his production is universal. His records are played by house, techno, and even trance (yecch) DJs. This one's no exception: for the house-head, "The Day After B" employs filtered vocal samples that slip in and out, while "Flux Tech" pounds the body into submission with only one escape-dance. Read more » 

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