Yeah, so as you might have gleaned from my reissue round-up, been unusually blocked in the writing department and not going to force it since I’m not feeling what I’ve been writing. All good, it all flows. Funny enough, albums are where I felt my intake lagging considerably compared to all the twelves and reissues I was jamming all year. Reviewing different pubs’ ‘best of’ listicles, I still genuinely felt that there emerged a certain canon born of the collective (and not very) critical braintrust, one that overlooks comparable records that are not even a degree removed. So while this is more of a list proper, and not a heavily blurbed listicle, it seems like others might find the below list of use, so I’m publishing it! And then hopefully this week things will start to return to normal (whatever that means) here…or something. Also, I’ve reviewed a lot of these inclusions already, so have linked to the original, typo-filled write-ups as well. Enjoy!Read More
Apologies for the delay, but doing a round-up of the year’s most intriguing reissues is increasingly a time-consuming task, one that might have robbed me of much of a desire to do an album round-up. And for as much as I love all the records I’ve included below, I could have easily doubled the number of records, making this summary feel almost arbitrary (it’s not, but still….) I’m going to do something super annoying and publish the WIP list as that tends to be a solid motivator to get the blurbage done. Or, maybe I won’t finish it it and that’s OK too! So yeah, Part One and Part Two of my singles coverage can be found at the other side of those hyperlinks with past installments below. Cool, let’s do this.Read More
The second half of my round-up of favorite tracks, twelves, and EPs released during 2018. The UK had a ridiculous 2018 in the independent label department and this installment concludes our detailed journey through the year’s release schedule before moving outwards to look at the US, the EU, and beyond. OK? OK!Read More
Aw yeah, here we are at last. Ever since starting this site two years ago, I’ve deeply enjoyed the excuse it’s provided me to go absolutely HAM on compiling my favorite records of the year and for my third edition, I continue my own tradition of an ever-ballooning listicle charting the tracks, twelves, EPs, albums, and reissues that never seemed to leave my tables or my Bluetooth speakers (man, I hate Bluetooth so goddamn much…Bring The Cords Back!) It would appear that my lists are also growing at an exponential rate as I will be doubling my round-up once again this year, with four different listicles planned. Now, whether I complete those before I burn out is anyone’s guess. With so many notable releases out there, I’ve found myself grouping many of them around labels, genres, and other themes that make too much sense to me but might not scan as “obvious” to everyone. Oh well. Onward!Read More
We are dealing with a younger AI that has taken over our culture and internet. Someone told me about mumble rap. Well, you gotta understand that’s how the new rappers wanna do it. And this AI is the same way. It has its own sensibilities. It’s like mumble rap. Now, the pre-universal organic AIs? Those are like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, or The Temptations or something! Totally different approach to existence.
Records from the likes of Lyra Valenza, a trio of Hakuna Kulala artists, Treo, Roger Doyle, and Dreamscape<3<3<3Read More
Been binging on the ‘scogs the past few weeks—well, more so than usual, I guess—to cast one last net across the bloated reissue market. Today’s it’s a groove-addled selection of post-ESG punk funk, Belgian minimalwave, Eurojazz head nodders, and a Timbaland-adjacent bangerRead More
Complexity is beautiful. Multiplicity is freedom. Difference is destiny.
Tracks from the likes of Dream Cycle, Future Beat Alliance, Yagya, Sir Lord Commix, The Untouchables, and some primetime 90s Italian house music all contained within for your snacking pleasure.Read More
I’ve always had a sweet spot for arpeggiations, especially those employed in the eternal quest of crafting intelligence-baffling machine funk. Been a melancholic week both in the mind and outside my window, so I’ve been digging through the infinite bins of emotionally-reserved party rockers. Tracks from Tony Carey, James Shinra, A Credible Eye Witness, and Syz included within.Read More
The rate of exciting new releases tends to hit a blinding velocity at this time of the year as one can barely keep up with records from past faves that compete for mental space alongside newer voices rising up. After a brief update from Buttechno’s ever-promising Rassvet Records and its latest missive from the big room-primed producer Shadowax, we check in with new twelves from the likes of new Hessle Audio signing Shelley Parker, Timedance and Ilian Tapes vet Laksa, and a recent Parris remix for Happa before closing things with the latest rave fetish from XL and some Bristol Fuck Punk courtesy of Bad Tracking.Read More
I fucking adore Thanksgiving. And like everything in life, it’s a ritual that is directly rooted in the exploitation and suffering of others. Though I can totally dig those who wish to not celebrate it at as a result, it’s always felt far more subversive, to me at least, to run with it and genuinely celebrate love and gratitude (while throwing the fuck down in the kitchen and disowning the day’s historical instantiation). I learned how to cook as a pre-teen from my father and the day has always been one in which we’re up by 9am (at the latest) and usually cooking until 4 or 5 (right now I’m just warming the bench while he dismantles the turkey prior to roasting). I mean, really, what other holiday is simply about food and family? Like, that’s it. Just eat and love (and be loved). Whether it’s your biological family or an ad hoc one assembled from friends and loved ones, it’s a day to actually reflect on the fabric that binds us together and transmute excess into something far more, well, spiritual. If family is the vehicle through which to embrace difference, Thanksgiving could also be titled Difference Day as it’s a day to let personalities and lives distinct from your own wash over you and be at peace with them. Amen. Tunes from the likes of Terrence Dixon, ASC, Pangaea, and a double dub serving from a Tadd Mullinix project and the OG’s Earthquake!Read More
I was informed by a friend that my recent MP3 blog-esque music dumps was causing his iPhone browser to crash, so I’m going to try and cut that out (but fear not, so much music one click away:) Anyways, as you can glean from the title of this post, been feeling especially fatigued by the affected all-knowingness that seems to be a hallmark of internet journalism. Whether it’s arts writers praising a show’s tokenist diversity efforts in lieu of any analysis that goes beyond superficialities or the way so much personal taste seems to represent a grocery list these days, the end result seems to always be the same for me: staggering dullness (which seems to be the defining aesthetic of this age). And don’t get it twisted; I’m all for people joining the social justice party. But don’t assume that one’s inclusivist politics always makes for a particularly compelling critical hermeneutics (even if doing so gets you all dem clicks). Of course, it’s always a bit too easy to hone in on what one doesn’t like rather than seeking out things to affirm, so I’ll put a pin in the whinging and invite you to join me for some recent jams from the likes of Well Street Records, Max Loderbauer, Burnt Friedman and Ekman alongside a killer Morgan Geist repress and a bruising archival release of machinic riddims circa 1980-1986. Let’s get it!Read More
A kinetic bombardment or a kinetic orbital strike is the hypothetical act of attacking a planetary surface with an inert projectile, where the destructive force comes from the kinetic energy of the projectile impacting at very high velocities. The concept originated during the Cold War….Kinetic bombardment has the advantage of being able to deliver projectiles from a very high angle at a very high speed, making them extremely difficult to defend against. In addition, projectiles would not require explosive warheads, and—in the simplest designs—would consist entirely of solid metal rods, giving rise to the common nickname "Rods from God". Disadvantages include the technical difficulties of ensuring accuracy and the high costs of positioning ammunition in orbit.
Dial Records didn’t invent the adult sophisticate house aesthetic but their legacy looms large, infecting a host of lesser labels thriving in an age of dance music conservativism. Fittingly inaugurated at the start of the 21st century, the label always felt just barely ahead of the curve, presaging a forthcoming period in which familiarity became prized over ingenuity. Black-and-white photographs transmuted into dance music, really. By the time Cleveland’s own John Roberts released his 2010 album Glass Eights, the label was fighting for its own relevancy as an army of middling producers and labels stormed the gates. While this decade has been considerably less forgiving for the label, the records it does release these days tend to pack a hefty punch, as this opening track from Roberts’ 2014 EP Ausio shifts effortlessly from evoking a post-chillwave indie rock jam sesh into a maudlin John Hughes suburaban discotheque on a spring Saturday kinda vibe, not dissimilar to this peachy-keen I:Cube jam.
With two EPs on the Infrastructure New York label that were released in 2014 and 2015, Campbell Irvine is a producer I was not familiar with. But it only took hearing ten seconds of his skipping snares and absent kicks to tickle my ears. Competing cadences and rhythmic-melodic vibrations run parallel and perpendicular alongside and across the producer’s intoned voice, which attempts to affix a linear narrative onto a discontinuum of snow-flecked ambiance.
Happy, hardcore? Hardcore happy! From an untitled collection of untitled tracks from an unknown producer that was released on the Labello Blanco Recordings imprint in 1993, the below A1 cut feels like the other side of the “We Are I.E.” rainbow. Laying down Chicago soulfulness atop a skanking white-key bass line and a basketful of breaks, all the while turning the Bomb Squad-undewritten facet of hardcore production inside out, what really takes this track to another level is the feelings-filled vocal that serves to hold the whole unholy mess together. Wow wow wow.
When did 90s hip-hop become a genre? 1994? 2014? The archives opened a long time ago, but we’re still making sense of all the pieces, none of which will fit together into one single puzzle image, no matter how hard we try. Live Squad would likely be barely a rap-historical footnote had they not worked with Tupac, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s their 1992 single “Heartless” that deserves the type of record collector fervor saved for far more tepid fare like Main Source (who are awesome, but come on, probably not worth all that ‘Scogs money). Eschewing the obvious samples for something far more impressionistic, the beat on “Heartless” rides a chugging b-line and half-articulated rhythmic utterances atop blown-out keys and the type of strings Detroit’s second wave were colonizing at the same time. Add in some hard af verses and you have a forgotten rap classic for the ages, not to mention the below cold-blooded video.
And to close things, here’s the most humble Discogs comment I’ve seen in ages….
For a 2010 paper in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, the Yale researchers Victoria Brescoll and Tyler Okimoto showed study participants the fictional biographies of two state senators, identical except that one was named John Burr and the other Ann Burr. (I referred to this study in an October 2016 article for this magazine called “Fear of a Female President.”) When quotations were added that described the state senators as “ambitious” and possessing “a strong will to power,” John Burr became more popular. But the changes provoked “moral outrage” toward Ann Burr, whom both men and women became less willing to support.
For John Burr, this wouldn’t be a problem. As the management professors Ekaterina Netchaeva, Maryam Kouchaki, and Leah Sheppard noted in a 2015 paper, Americans generally believe “that leaders must necessarily possess attributes such as competitiveness, self-confidence, objectiveness, aggressiveness, and ambitiousness.” But “these leader attributes, though welcomed in a male, are inconsistent with prescriptive female stereotypes of warmth and communality.” In fact, “the mere indication that a female leader is successful in her position leads to increased ratings of her selfishness, deceitfulness, and coldness.”
It’s tempting to believe that computers will be neutral and objective, but algorithms are nothing more than opinions embedded in mathematics.
First up, a siren call to all those in NYC tonight. I’ve been meaning to do a proper review of the blinding Manonmars album released by the Young Echo collective/imprint last month, but as I’m just not in the headspace for much extended anything, please take this as a proper notice that the MC’s debut album, produced by faves O$VMV$M, is a proper greyscale mindmelter. Last heard on that blistering Young Echo album, the vocalist unleashes a full blast of associative thinking and melancholic millennial musings. It’s a really fucking special album and as it doesn’t seek to announce how special it really is, I fully expect it fly under most scribes’ radars (though, hey, prove me wrong, PLEASE:) Not surprisingly, my fave NYC record store 2Bridges is all about the record as well and they’ll be hosting Manonmars backed by O$VMV$M tonight at 8pm so don’t miss out!!!
And for those who haven’t yet, be sure to scope the blinding album that they’ll be promoting, which I’m embedding below for y’all<3 Such a special album….
I was totally unfamiliar with the Sbire label in Switzerland, as well as its founders Isolated Lines and Gaspard de la Montagne. But after marveling at the latter’s Spectres EP released back in March, it’s a label that I’m going to be tracking closely as de la Montagne specialized in the type of cinematic ambient thump that just renders me paralyzed by bliss. The track “Masque” is an exceptional example of the label’s snowed-in, gauzy aesthetic that is evocative of sequential snapshops depicting a wintry Swiss countryside. Pure class.
I’ve known of DJ/producer Ryan James Ford for well over a decade now, though I’ve weirdly never had the pleasure of seeing him play. Turns out he’s also one of the more compelling production voices currently out there and just released a new four-track affair on the excellent Happy Skull label (which put out a delightful D’Arcangelo EP earlier this year). So far, “Hobrv Kegdit” is my favorite cut on the record as it stitches broken, stuttering breakbeats with wistful library synths for a genuinely headspinning assemblage.
Moving onto a couple of older releases that just worked their way into my life, I slept on this stunning Maximillion Dunbar remix of Adjowa from 2014 on the marvelous Don’t Be Afraid imprint (incidentally, the other label he’s released on is Happy Skull.) I’ve been quite interested by the number of temporally dilated productions currently floating around that seek to break the spatial-temporal grid while piecing it all back together and Dunbar’s MPC-mashing remix more than fits the bill.
I’ve just started diving into Horo & Auxiliary’s Grey Area label and man, what a charming little operation. Been particularly digging this collection from 2016 that features four slices of invitingly thorny miniatures that update the homespun electronic shtick for a DAW-enabled world. Lovely stuff.
And to conclude things on a properly greyscale and overcast note, I’m not sure when I first heard this Carol jam (aka Snowy Red) but the homie Tiago finally ID’d this longstanding mourn-pop favorite for me yesterday and I couldn’t be more grateful. Love love love.
The term “tau” is derived from the “tau effect”: It describes the influence of the duration of temporal intervals on the perceived length of spatial distances. But tau can be more than that. Constructions, abstractions and rearrangements of space, time and their relations are to be imagined. Space and time are the instruments of mind. Temporarily available utopias are real imaginations in an imagined reality.
As this site endlessly pivots between the past and present, feels like it’s high time to swivel back to highlighting some recent releases I’ve been feeling. In case you missed it, I can’t recommend enough the homie Pipecock’s piece connecting the dots between a large number of oft-overlooked American dance operators, including Kai Alcé’s NDATL imprint. The label recently released a ten-year anniversary comp with a tracklist that would put most other labels to shame. For me, the absolute highlight comes in the form of a pairing between Alcé and Kyle Hall that features some dazzling rhythmic-melodic titration. It’s the kind of track that can send my anxiety levels through the roof in the most deliciously agonizing of ways.
I have so much admiration for the Tresor label’s commitment to underground sounds and their more mainstream-inclined ripples. Following that scorcher from Second Woman released back in March, Tresor has repressed this blazing Shao EP from January that marries cinematic ambient with crystalline floor flexes like the po-faced “Reflection Pt. 1” below. As one friend quipped, “It’s very John Carpenter at Berghain, into it.” As am I<3
Moscow’s INFX is the latest Russian electronic artist to release via Gost Zvuk, which has been a home to recent favorites from the likes of Nocow, Buttechno, and Flaty (who has a track on the upcoming Cong Burn comp). Maintaining its pretty damn flawless track record, Fences of Metal is six tracks of stellar IDM-informed excursions into electronic extremities and rhythmic rotundas.
Lastly, I’m always a soft touch for damaged, demented dub and Bristol’s Sunun drops four steaming platters of humanized, ritualistic incantations backed with a probing Kinlaw remix. She has a monthly show on the excellent Noods Radio as well, so get to it! And speaking of Noods, I really enjoyed the dude Ossia’s first show on the station, a solid two-hour journey through dub specials, industrial-tinged techno, and 140bpm halfstompers. Check it.
Paul Rose/Scuba’s Hotflush Recordings has long held an ambivalent spot in my heart of hearts. Since setting up shop in 2003 as one of the very first dubstep-focused labels—back when ‘dubstep’ looked much different than how it would only a few years later—I was enchanted with much of the label’s early output. However, I’ll never forget listening to the label’s first comp collecting its early twelves, Space and Time, and feeling an overwhelming sense of disappointment with the halfstep tracks, thinking “Oh no, this is going to be like Trip-Hop 2.0” (and let’s be real: nothing ‘2.0’ has ever been particularly good). At the same time, early platters from the likes of Toasty, Eric H, and Toasty still hold up today, demonstrating just how exciting and fertile the early space that opened up between late UKG and early grime and dubstep was. That ambivalence caused by the Rose’s flitting between the bleeding edge of the underground and more hotel lobby-friendly sounds has become one of the defining hallmarks of both Rose’s career and his A&R inclinations. In addition to breaking artists like Joy Orbison, Mount Kimbie, and Sepalcure alongside putting out some of the best material from Untold, Sigha, and Rose himself (via his Berghain-friendly SCB moniker), the label has also put out plenty of maudlin, big room-primed stinkers. And, honestly, that’s kind of awesome when you think about it as the label approaches its fifteenth-year anniversary and still pivots between mainstream-palatable fare and more adventurous material. Having stumbled into the Hotflush section of my collection the other day, it felt like high time to revisit five of my favorite deep cuts from the label’s imposing discography…let’s get to it!Read More
Interviewer: Why do you make your songs so noisy with feedback?
Jim Reid: The last record had no feedback on it.
William Reid: The last record was acoustic, mate.
Jim: It still ‘ad no feedback.
Will: Look, it’s all reverb anyway, not feedback.
-Jesus and Mary ChainRead More
I prefer the format-- longer, evolving, repetitive rhythms-- but I get that from dub just as much as house and techno. I'm also into the futurism and otherworldliness, which were obviously influences on jungle and so by default, dubstep anyway. Everyone is influenced by house and techno whether they realize it or not-- it's foundation. It can be misleading to describe new music using words that have 90s contexts though. I've got a dubplate of a tune by a young Bristol producer that sounds like a 1990 Derrick May record. I know for a fact he has never heard a Derrick May record. Is he influenced by Derrick May?
What is left of the futurist thought of sonic invention in an age when the military-entertainment complex cuts to the micrological core and control operates flat with becoming? Did the future get lost in the labyrinth of Web, in the rhizomatic networks of ubiquitous computation?
-Dan SickoRead More
Abstract beatz, math rock, intelligent Techno, proper Drum'n'Bass, these clever genres for stupid people resurrect the premodern opposition in which the mind is bizarrely superior to the body. By frustrating the funk and impeding the groove, clever music amputates the distributed mind, locks you back in the prisonhouse of your head. Far from being futuristic , cerebral music therefore retards you by reimposing a preindustrial sensory hierarchy that shut up your senses in a Cartesian prison.
-Kodwo EshunRead More