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Break Reform Fractures

Label: Abstract Blue

This trio from London has combined the heart-stopping realism of Nana Vorperian's vocals, sparse hip-hop orientated beats, and a fondness for jazzed-out, keyed flavors to produce an honest portrait of modern urban life. The sincerity of Nana's vocals can be related to as easily as a friend's real-life woes. "Fractures" captures the anguish of a love lost perfectly, courtesy of sighing strings, a vibraphone that feigns happiness and captivating vocals. "Medusa Pts 1 & 2" sees frustrated beats, tear-shaped keys and a weaving flute combine alongside Nana's distraught vocals. Read more » 

Phil Parnell Runaway

Label: Mantis

This is the house section, so we shan't mention Phil's obtuse, microscopically minimal original mix, nor shall we mention the particle-shifting precision of Bugge Wesseltoft's mix. Rather, we'll skip to Mantis's own "Filmix." Here, the Mantis owners run wild with wanton breaks, At-Jazzy chords and great vocals courtesy of Liz Fletcher. As always, Mantis make a mockery of modern music and in so doing make us all very happy. Read more » 

Watchers To the Rooftops

Label: Gern Blandsten

This is some seriously dramatic art-funk that channels what was most interesting about the Talking Heads' canonical Remain in Light. Read more » 

Various Idol Tryouts

Label: Ghostly International

There's a myth out there about how techno in Detroit is dead. One could choose to believe that, depending on the parameters. But, with a little bit more latitude in definition and geography, things have never been better. Case in point: this compilation from Ann Arbor's Ghostly International. Idol Tryouts spans a healthy mix, from the artistry of Matthew Dear and Osborne's house to the computer-aided rock of Midwest Product. Read more » 

!!! Me and Guliani Down By the Schoolyard (A True Story)

Label: Touch and Go

This eight-piece Gang of Explanation Marks knows exactly where to take that stomach-churning urge for self-aware, No-Wave-tinged, Caucasoid post-punk-funk-to the motherfuckin' bridge, y'all! Long, intriguing jams both, "Me..." and the flipside's eye-rollingly named Sunracapellectroshit Mix of "Intensifieder" comprise a refreshingly groovy flame put to nu-synth-pop's oversprayed hairdo. Read more » 

Various Artists High Tide Punkt14-6

Label: Punkt Music

The subliminal whispers on this EP's first track, "Kai Koh," leave you awash in a sea of pliping and wahbing bass, and producers Christian Bei Read more » 

Bulletproof Gun Runner

Label: Cyanide

The seventh release from New Zealand's Cyanide imprint finds things just getting better. "Gun Runner" is a subtle stepper built on dark textures, a pumping beat and a spiraling bassline. The equally hypnotizing flip, "Seduction," moves at a lightning-quick pace, as Bulletproof takes the techno-funk sound to a much deeper level, producing an exquisite thriller. Read more » 

London Elektricity Billion Dollar Gravy

Label: Hospital

The long-overdue follow-up to 1999's seminal Pull the Plug, Billion Dollar Gravy takes the leftfield aesthetic of the London Elektricity sound and fine-tunes it into an inspiring fusion of soul, funk, jazz and drum & bass. With an eye firmly on the dancefloor, Tony Colman (sans former L.E. partner, Chris Goss) cooks up an album that's heavy on the groove and all about the intricate textures that swim delicately in the background. Read more » 

Tes X2

Label: Lex

Tes's lyrical delivery has the piercing urgency of a bugle call, and his second EP is a call to arms for nostalgic city living. "New New York" is trimmed with old school disco, a sweetly boasting Saturday Night Fever ode sung while swaggering past brownstone stoops. At his best, the skilled, bristly production is meaty enough to support his wide plank of a voice, but when he's rapping over dustier atmospherics, it's a strange mismatch of brassy rap and gray desolation. They're beats made for a spacier emcee, while Tes needs more solid ground. Read more » 

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