Throughout this decade, Dutch producer Vincent Koreman has maintained a dizzyingly prodigious release schedule, supplementing a steady flow of releases on his own New York Haunted with a slew of albums and EPs for respected labels like Viewlexx, Pinkman, Shipwrec, OMNIDISC, and Power Vacuum. With a rough’n’ready and blown-out sound that neatly aligned with the noisier, outsider-y strains of dance music that were starting to catch on in the early ‘10s, Koreman’s productions have avoided smacking of trends by reflecting a deeply intimate and inspired knowledge of dance music that results in disarmingly sincere tracks. Honestly, his is an intimidating back catalog and one I’m not as familiar with as I feel I should be, especially after being properly rocked by the CODE006 album released on the wildly prolific Co-Dependent (which is co-run by tuuun, who also operates the compelling FLUF label, which issued Drvg Culture’s AA0012 two-tracker last year). The ten tracks on CODE006 see Koreman diving deep into his own rabbit hole, mining a sound that seems to channel significant inspiration from UK bass, grime, techno, and EBM without ever seeming beholden to any one genre. It’s a wildly sincere record that dares you to not be impressed from the jump, the melodically supercharged arps of opener “Aerocell” presenting a wide-eyed emotionality that courses throughout the album, reaching its scintillating climax on closing couplet “The Lion and the Sun” and “The Lion and the Sun II.” Hugely recommended.
Juu & G.Jee - New Luk Thung (EM Records 2019)
As much as I love to think about music, it works best when you encounter something that has that ineffable something that makes you wonder, “I don’t know why I’m listening to this all the time and I really don’t care cuz this fucking rules.” And honestly, it’s been a minute since I’ve come across a record that just shut my dome down and turned my eyes into stars, so the biggest s/o to the stupendous EM Records. Fusing samples of Thai country music (luk thung) with a western EDM pop palette, producer Juu works with a stunning cast of vocalists to interpolate Thai history through the global dance music vernacular, resulting in otherworldly, smoked out bliss. Definitely not for everyone, but for those it is for, good god, you’re in for a treat!
Also, in other alien vocal news, if you’re not up on that new Future/Lil Keed jammer, get it!
Retina.it - Formant (Nonplus Records 2019)
The Naples, Italy-based duo of Lino Monaco and Nicola Buono have been putting out records as Retina.it since 1999, becoming a staple on Chicago’s Hefty Records in the early 00s with a whipsmart psychedelia that stretched from steely, Aphex-y downtempo to enlightened minimal techno. Theirs is an omnivorous sound that has been neatly filed under ‘IDM’ without sounding nearly as dated today as much of what their peers were releasing at the time. Over the past decade, they’ve pushed into deeper techno territory with releases on labels like Delirio, Substrato, and Semantica while retaining a certain unpredictability and wiliness that rewards repeat listens and tends to feel at least a few years ahead of its time. It makes sense then that the duo would find themselves on the forward-oriented Nonplus label and the duo deliver the good in the finest of styles. A surefooted queasiness permeates throughout the EP as the opening title track pivots anxiously on a skipping kick pattern, undergirding the doppler spray that darts across the high end while “Neural Map” locks into a twitchy 4x4/3x4 polyrhythm that is as restless as it is patient. The upward tonal movement found on “Unconditional Perceptive Act” cultivates a type of myopic hypnosis that tests the sturdiness of your sea legs before the lurching, mildly devilish “Unknown Totality” closes things out on a fractal tip.
Daaaaaang, this goes hard. Although Belgian producer Peter Adriaenssens has been releasing music since 2013, his debut EP for R&S has introduced him to a wider audience (hi!) and he comes too correct across Prisma’s four heavy-hitting barnburners. Clearly possessing a deft hand at switching between complementary grooves, there’s a charming give-and-take dynamic going on here, the rhythm changes on the nimble opening title track and the half-stepping “No Isms” compelling the listener to throw their fist up in the air in righteous, ecstatic anger. He digs his heels in on the aslant “Delta” before throwing the hammer down on the riotous “Zeal.” A massive one.
A sublabel of the venerable Indigo Aera label, Maarten Mittendorff & Jasper Wolff’s quality control is on a level of its own and has been responsible for an impeccable run of various artist EPs that come straight from the bleeding edge of contemporary techno. With three of the five EPs planned for 2019 already out this year—all of which are stuffed front to back with all killer—volume eight wastes no time in pricking ears, Bas Amro’s “Seabead” conjuring a wobbly yet martial vibe that is sweetly seasick. Mittendorf and Wolff come charging on “1998,” the delicately blunt interplay between its charging bass line and pitch-shifted rides offset by yawning, ethereal pads that envelop the listener before Tetelepta drops the tempo down a smidge for the booming, tactile assault of “Work Six 118.” Fresh face Anton Biotica does the tribal tool thang right with “Gate Morgue,” its canary-like hook underwritten by dub techno refractions. Closing the comp is series regular Taupe, coughing up all the synthetic phlegm on the bright-eyed “The Game,” sun-dappled chords dripping down with each exhale.
Pathic - Rebirth EP (Pyramid Transmissions 2019)
John Cranmers has been releasing neck-snapping dance music for the Pyramid Transmissions label he runs with fellow producer Andy Jagger (ADJ) for fifteen years now and his latest four-tracker, the super on-point Rebirth EP, shows a talent continuing to refine his carefully calibrated electro trax. Opener “Clot Oddity” goes right for the jugular with its simply effective, ear-wormy, and menacing hook underwritten by the track’s patient, meticulous arrangement as “Rebirth” burrows deeper into the mountain with intense tunnel vision. The turn-up vibes continue on the B-side with the thunderous riffage of “Am I Eating Mushroom Soup” before the skies finally open up on”Biorhythm 10B90,” a rapturous, Detroit-informed melodic downpour drenching the listener. Top-shelf electro jams for the ever faithful.