30 March 2010

New Music Reviews

I spent a bit of cash on records the other day, and also tracked down a bunch of new promo. Reviews / chat follows.

Mount Kimbie - Remixes (HFRMX 006 / 007)
Mount Kimbie made massive waves last year with the EPs Maybes and Sketch on Glass; their bridging of trip-hop, house and minimal electro made for deep, cerebral listening and earned them rave reviews from Wire, DJ and all the usual suspects. Being signed to Scuba's awesome HotFlush imprint also placed them squarely in the "dubstep" bracket, just as the world was looking around for a more delicately engineered strain of offbeat bass music. Suffice to say, you can't track the vinyls down anywhere, and almost every track from the original two EPs is getting a remix pressing, due in April.

The breadth of these remix EPs is their main strength; Instra:mental reconfigures At Least as a lush, 4/4 house track, full of fractured vocals, which'll go down great with the Subculture crowd, whilst Prosumer and Tama Sumo go for a more driving, Berghain flavoured techno number, hanging the original's vocals from crisp hi-hats and offsetting it with fat kicks.
James Blake, the most sonically similar to Mount Kimbie, fractures almost all of the original aspects and builds a half-timed, trip-hop wonk-fest that slowly ebbs and flows with washes of vocals and synths. It's gorgeous, and with careful treatment can make for some great mixes, as Scuba's Sub:stance mix proved earlier this year.

Scuba of course makes his presence felt under his new minimal moniker SCB, and uses the delicate woodblock / chime rhythms of the original as splashes of colour on a dark technoid canvas. It's infectious and driving, building to a grinding dancefloor climax, without ever losing the delicacy of the original elements.

Nico Purman - All That Glitters Aint Gold (Vakant) - Out April 26th
Limited, one-sided vinyl from one of Berlin's finest minimal dancefloor stables featuring nine minutes of brilliantly restrained cosmic disco. Applying Vakant's usual pallete of minimal clicks, fractured vocals and dubby ring-outs, Nico Purman injects a dose of disco groove, catchy claps and resonant guitar to create an absolute dancefloor killer. It's got all the weirdness you'd expect; strange, gargling vocal breakdowns, reductionist percussion and repetitive riffs, but it's impossibly danceable, with washes of guitar and synth injecting energy and groove. Admittedly, there's no awesome B-side to discover, but what's there is grade A material. Get some free Nico Purman here

Ramadanman - Ramadanman EP - Hessle Audio Out 05th April
Along with Hotflush and Werk, I think Hessle's got to be one of my favourite labels at the moment - Pangaea's EP was absolutely sublime, and Ramadanman's Humber 12" gets constant rinsage in DJ sets (awesome remix too). After the more surreal tones of James Blake's The Bells Sketch, head honcho Ramadanman returns to the fray with a much more dancefloor-friendly double pack EP. This really is bang for your buck; six tunes split over two vinyls, from off-beat two-step, to swung techno, to jungle-inflected dub. Opener I Beg You begins as gorgeous percussive dub, full of polyrhythms and Burial-esque mournful vocals, but builds into a stuttering breakbeat reminiscent of the current crop of rave revivalists. There's a similar rattling rimshot pattern permeating the soulful vocal samples of Don't Change For Me, and the whole EP sees Ramadanman blending hard-nosed percussion with dubby atmospherics in a way he's never quite managed before. The ubiquitous wobble bass is even handled well, providing welcome heaviness on No Swing, rather than steamrollering it's way into a drop. A very accomplished record, with plenty of useful moments.

Record shopping:
Traversable Wormhole vol.5 - TW05
If you've not caught any of this before now, Traversable Wormhole are just awesome: suitably anonymous, minimal and very, very dark techno. A heated fourway fisticuffs between Monolake / Dettman / T++ / Intelecto about who's got the bigger pair. I've just picked up the 5th release - Plain black packaging, lightly stencilled title, no side A or B except in the runout. This is exactly how I want my techno - you dig in boxes, you listen in shop and take it home that day, clutching at the bag feverishly, proud of the obscure gem only you in the whole world own. Well, truth be told, Traversable Wormhole isn't as anonymous as, say Seldom Felt (who performed in Ninja masks. Awesome.), and in the days of Boomkat and Rub-a-Dub online stores, crate digging's a lost art, but it still feels nice to encounter proper nameless brutality. Plus, clanking percussion, deep bass and heavy sounds have rarely been done so well.
Free Traversable Wormhole Mix

Low Limit VS Lando Kal - Golden Handshake - Numbers Guess what? Numbers' Record label is pretty damn good. Yeah, yeah, big surprise. I'll be honest, nothing on this EP quite hits me the way that Lazer Sword's Gucci Sweatshirt remix did, but it's an impressive piece of work nonetheless; crunked up, funky, synth-driven mayhem. It's pretty awesome. Blurring the lines between hip-hop, dubstep, garage and house, it's got something for every discerning DJ looking for a party tune to absolutely blow it out the water. What it says on the tin really.

More reviews soon.

1 comment:

  1. Golden handshake didn't blow my head off either when I first heard it, but I find myself coming back to it quite a lot when playing myself some records. I don't know if it's what I'd call a sure fire classic, but it is certainly deserving of a spot in a record bag. Goes well with plant food, I imagine.