Massive Attack's fifth studio album finally arrives, a full seven years after its predecessor. Clusters of gloomy chords, dubby basslines, and ominous breakbeats scattered across the album suggest that they haven't lifted their musical mood. Martina Topley-Bird's contributions scale the heights of astonishment Massive Attack has achieved with previous female collaborators. Set against a panoply of disjointed acidic bleeps and slippery electronic beats, it's taken into an entirely new emotional realm. The theme: sounds haunt to the point of terror. Some of the top tracks include "Pray For Rain," "Girl I Love You," and "Paradise Circus." All in all, a brilliant album.
Pantha Du Prince
Firmly rooted in classic techno and house music, yet also appealing to a much wider audience (as also evident by their move to Rough Trade), Pantha Du Prince's album Black Noise is his stellar new release, elevating him to a status occupied by the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, The Field, and Isolee. A delicately nuanced album with romantic compositions, and dark panoramic splendour, maintaining a sense of minimalism amidst its textural, hypnotic feel. Whether its tribal (primal and child-like) rhythms, and trance-not-trance psychedelia, Pantha Du Prince is amongst the new breed (spearheaded by artists like Animal Collective) of highly accessible yet cerebral artists whose music flows from headphones like colors bleed from rainbows. Featuring Panda Bear from Animal Collective and Tyler Pope from LCD Soundsystem.
With Pantha Du Princes’ departure to Rough Trade, Pawel can easily claim to having released Dials' most innovative minimal album, if not topping the general list-so-far. Subtle dancefloor grooves are anchored by a melancholy ear and melodies that are clean and sparse. Classic techno synthlines, wispy electronics, and an occasional wordly feel.
Haven't I Seen You Before
(cassette only release!)
Stefan Goldmann is the latest guest on the Tapeworm's cassette only label (previous cast has included Philip Jeck, Biosphere, and Stephen O'Malley from Sunn O)))). Goldmann's guitar is the only sound source here, cut into loops of various durations, overlapped and sequenced. In proof that tapes are not merely cool ornaments or glamorized for the sake of nostalgia, Goldmann utilizes the full and unique potential of the format, such as encouraging the listener to use their auto-reverse function to flip between alternate versions of the take. Creative and fun!
"I did the whole mix CD live just because I thought that was more honest than doing an Ableton DJ mix. It is how I would play live – not everything on the CD is perfect, but it’s not meant to be. That goes for my DJ sets and for my music as well" - Martyn
Martyn's meteoric rise to the vanguard of all things deep, techy, funky and steppin' is entirely warranted by a series of deadly productions that surely need no introduction here. The Dutchman's DJ sets over the last 12 months have increasingly looked beyond dubstep's peripheries to the fields of synthfunk, hiphop, housed-up ruffage and broken beat electronics, as well as deep-dub aquatics: scanning the oncoming waves of percussively rooted dance music to cherry pick the very tastiest chunks of goodness. For Fabric 50 he's assorted one of the most enviable trackists around, Madd Slinky, Ben Klock, Levon Vincent and Joy Orbison to keep the curve on a brilliantly varied but controlled trajectory for the floor. It's probably going to be another six months before half of these tracks reach the shop floor, and the other other half are simply stone cold essential, so there's very little doubt as to what you gotta do here. Immense.
Thisisnotanexit has unobtrusively been carving a niche for themselves as purveyors of frequently brilliant music sharing a singular aesthetic (a kind of Balearic open-mindedness combined with a love of fearless sonic adventures... and well, post punk) that, by accident or design, has positioned the new label as a kind of fantastic covert operation waiting to be discovered. Primarily dealing in disco-post-electronic odysseys, Manifesto #1 is a compilation, but, more than that, it's a statement of intent, a list of instructions and a dossier of clues to a secret society (in the best spirit of Factory Records). So here we have it, experimental post-rave ambiance (Brain Machine, Professor Genius) alongside Eno-esque throbbing beatless minimalism (Naum Gabo, Spectral Empire), and dreamy takes on kosmiche nu-disco. One word though, describes all: Progressive.
One Night Stand
Poised for ridiculous levels of commercial success, Hot Chip arrive at their third album, having thus far enjoyed a surprisingly huge audience and a generous critical response. At various points One Night Stand sees a more determined approach to mainstream pop music. Well, enough shameless pop to put M-People to shame, actually. Plastic sounds and orchestrally embellished electro-soul define the new super rave. Love it or hate it.
Perfused For Greek stalwart
Fluxion's second album is an affirmation that he's among the elite in making killer ice-cool techno -- a great piece for the dub techno heads to add to their collections. Perfused sounds like it could have came out on Chain Reaction over ten years ago. A GOOD thing!
Ellen Allien steps up for the next installment of the Watergate series, and bonus points for popping out a real time concoction! It's nice to hear a mix with rough edges contrast to Ableton perfection. Allien's sixth (!) mixtape is lively, a florid mix with edgy electro, feathery percussion, and what makes her awesome -- her playing-in-the-dark moody flirtations. Featuring Matias Aguayo, John Tejada, Fever Ray, Uffie, and AGF.
Another Detroit expat has been spotted in Berlin... and found collaborating with techno's first lady Ellen Allien. With successful joints on B-Pitch and high profile remixes in tow (Fever Ray and Hearththrob) Seth Troxler drops a mix boasting those collabed re-edits and peers in the world of funky minimal, such as Roman Flugel and Alexi Delano.
Plug Research dives into the pond of electronic soul music and casts out Danish pop-wise r'n'b duo Quadron for a debut album of boogie-idm-funk synth-pop symphonics, fronted by cute femme vocals. If you like Mayer Hawthorne, Shafiq Husayn or maybe even Sa-Ra, do check this jam out!
The thinking man's electro diva has brushed aside the more aggressive retro laser-beam electro but still couldn't be further than her debut Felt Mountain. Alison Goldfrapp has again reinvented herself, though within a bubbly New Coke n Pop Rocks paradigm of the 80s... and some artsy Italo disco. This is great stuff that could give Lady Gaga a run for her money (let me say again, Alison being the thinking man's diva!) with these nimble pop-perfect arrangements. Goldfrapp Is It!
Oversteps marks the tenth record from the Brits, and a reversion to the more traditional Ae method of dense and intricate studio work. This may sound horrible to some, but this album is probably Autechre's most approachable to date, with its satisfyingly warped wind-up melodies, beautifully discordant acid lines, fascinating oblique abstractions in sound structure, and its sheer baroque beauty overall. Beauty and harmony in complexity and a milestone for Autechre's very human achievement.