X.Y.R.: Labyrinth LP (Not Not Fun, 2017)

August 2, 2017 at 10:51 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

X.Y.R.: Labyrinth LP

Russia’s X.Y.R. has released several tapes on labels like Singapore Sling, Constellation Tatsu, and Not Not Fun, and now the latter is the home of the project’s debut LP. The album contains six tracks of gentle, unhurried drifting, sometimes with soft vocals, and sometimes with rushing waves (or fuzzy static). It’s relaxing, but it’s also a bit lonely, and it’s not afraid to let some rough edges show. If it’s somehow possible to do yoga underwater while listening to music, this might be a good soundtrack for that.

Tobias.: Eyes In the Center (Ostgut Ton, 2017)

August 2, 2017 at 9:23 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Tobias.: Eyes In the Center

3rd solo album from Tobias Freund, who has been making techno in one form or another since the early ’90s and is now associated with the mighty Berghain club and its Ostgut Ton label. This is an album of explorations rather than straightforward club tracks. “Cr 24” is a rough, homemade electro track which takes a few seconds to boot up. “Autopoiesis” opens with scattered voices, which soon form waves and then give way to an almost footwork-sounding rhythm. “Blind Mass” is a moody piece with some breakbeats shuffling away underneath, but “Syndrome” is where we finally get to solid 4/4 beats. But even then, the claps play a sort of half-time game, making things seem to move slower than they are. “Single Minded” is another weird half-time dub-sludge creeper. “In Between” is an ambient piece which sounds like spending a night in a slightly eerie, possibly haunted, but generally safe forest. After that, we get various shades of rough electro beats surrounded by lush, spacey sounds. “Geometric” has a very tiny trace of rave synths under its crunchy beat and shadowy drifting. The clapping, sputtering “Eyes In the Center” is another highlight.

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