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Corven Dalek Wet and Hard

Label: Flesh

Has nothing changed in the past ten years of massive-targeting techno? I was hoping for something a little more intuitive, so maybe it's my fault, but I'd swear that this same set was released in mix tape format by hundreds of kids who thought they were rebellious trendsetters way back when. Dalek's 16-song mix consists mainly of his own tracks, with various versions of his "hits" like "Pornoground" and "A Real Man." Maybe this will actually be a grand entrance into electronic music for someone somewhere, but it's just been added to my Goodwill box. Read more » 

Various Artists Destination: Out

Label: Ecco Chamber

Future jazz has always seemed to me a sleek soundtrack for a utopia in which no one sweats, spills, or has visible pores. In this world, everyone jetsets while wearing unrumpled white and listens to Destination: Out, a smooth cocktail of cosmopolitan broken beat and downtempo, featuring artists from Europe, Russia and Japan. Burbling with effortless good taste, the two-disc compilation features gentle magic from Cuica, Jimpster and Bobby Hughes Combination. Departing slightly from the beguiling "Braziliance" burble, A.L.S.M.'s track just hints at turbulence over windswept steppes. Read more » 

Various Artists Africanism Project

Label: Defected-Yellow

France's Africanism label has become a firm focus for anyone with an ear for truly great house music, and now all those who devote themselves to playing catch-up rather than discovery can find out why. Spread across two CDs elegantly mixed by DJ Gregory and Bob Sinclair, this collection impresses from the very first beat to the very last snare. From the tribal holler of Gregory's own "Tropical Soundclash" to the more laid-back vibes of John Ciafone's Spanish guitar-tinged "Majito," there's not a track on here that's not a born and bred winner. Read more » 

Friction and Nu Balance Burn Down

Label: Blade

Friction rubs up against the bassbins for Charge sublabel Blade, generating some heat with "Burn Down," which takes Digitalesque retro boom/clack-style beats and pairs them up with dramatic machine growls, a beeping melody and pounding bass. Flip for "Turmoil," a predictable techy roller that evokes vintage Stakka & Skynet. Read more » 

L'ombre Medicine for the Meaningless

Label: Ant-Zen

Formerly an industrial noise label, Ant-Zen continues to push its reputation into new territories with artists like David Thrussell (a.k.a. Snog), Squaremeter (the erstwhile German terror junglist Panacea), and now L'ombre. Based in Canada, Stephen Sawyer's L'ombre debut moves nimbly between the harsh post-industrial landscape of Ant-Zen's back catalog and a stereographic ambience, where seemingly planar wisps of sound lurch into your listening space as if from thin air. Read more » 

Ignitian Technician The Cult Starts Here

Label: Tronic

For their debut on Christian Smith's imprint, this Leeds-based team takes on an old-school syncopated groove. Styled as an organic percussive tool, this EP displays ethereal synth work and an overused vocal chant. The quotient reveals deep hues, although one should also expect a relentless pounding. Read more » 

Easy Star All Stars Dub Side of the Moon

Label: Easy Star

For many, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon conjures up foggy memories of dingy college dorm rooms, black lights and the unmistakable fragrance of bong water soaking into the carpet-memories best left dormant or revisited with the requisite sense of humor. But that's exactly what producer Victor "Ticklah" Axelrod has done in this dub take on the 1973 ambient rock masterpiece, brilliantly incorporating toaster Rankin' Joe's hammy chatter into a version of "Time," Frankie Paul's soulful delivery of "Us and Them," and Dr. Read more » 

Pulse Programming Tulsa for One Second

Label: Aesthetics

Experimental acts are sneaking out of the bedroom and into clubs. Groups like The Postal Service (Jimmy Tamborello of Dntel's side-project on Seattle's Sub Pop imprint) are rockin' the world of formerly electronic-shy indie-pop fans. Chicago's Pulse Programming continues in this vein, and their gorgeous "Blooms Eventually" is like a love song for electronica sweethearts. Unlike Dntel's computer-processed shoegazer-emo, Tulsa conveys a vibe suitable for seduction-smooth like a nattily tuxedoed soul singer, as opposed to Peaches's overt "come on, fuck me" attitude. Read more » 

Various Artists National Vinyl Association

Label: Avatar

Even though it's the heavyhitters-Mos Def, Blackmoon, Jurassic 5-that are gonna sell this badboy compilation, it's the deeper underground that smashes up the place. On "Classical Hit," Phil da Agony and Planet Asia, both in top form, deliver heavy verbal bombast over a thoroughly catchy beat, as the female hookstress croons, "getting passionate with some ol' classical shit." Ras Kass, another Cali vet, blazes a straight-up lyrical slugfest along a gritty, gothic piano loop on "Verbal Murder"-minimal underground militancy like the good ol' days. Read more » 

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