Fracture: Cold & Rain 12″ EP (Astrophonica, 2017)

August 13, 2017 at 11:43 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Fracture: Cold & Rain 12″ EP

I’ve been oblivious to Fracture until now, even though he’s released dozens of records on labels like Metalheadz, Exit, Offshore, Ohm Resistance, etc. since the early 2000s (either solo or with Neptune). This is supercharged club music with tightly edited breaks, lots of energetic samples, and pop elements which don’t seem overly saccharine or cloying. It has the rolling, choppy beats of post-2000 drum’n’bass but doesn’t just settle into looping the same patterns over and over (I haven’t heard drum’n’bass that does this in quite a while, and I’m hoping this style has died out and people are just simply more creative now), and there’s some footwork-ness (he’s collaborated with DJ Earl) but it stays within the d’n’b realm. “So High” (a co-production w/ Alix Perez) uses chipmunk rave vocals to build up its momentum, but it manages to stay somewhat muted compared to how you might expect it to get, and there’s some really inventive bass tones. Looks like this is a back catalog I need to plunge into.

Sug: God’s Clit Vol. 2: Time vs. Flesh tape (Hausu Mountain, 2017)

August 13, 2017 at 11:15 pm | Posted in Reviews | 1 Comment

Sug: God’s Clit Vol. 2: Time vs. Flesh tape

Sugarm is now just Sug, and his first tape in several years is a long, heavy expedition which questions mortality and earthly existence. It’s very noisy and disjointed, with tripped-out distortion and floating, detached samples flying around heavy beats. It has the usual anything-goes spirit of Hausu Mountain releases, but is a bit noisier and darker than a lot of their releases, yet there’s still a cartoonish playfulness apparent. But there’s some very longform drone examinations here, such as “Silent Spiral”, which ends up sampling some sort of dizzy heavy breathing exercise before the speaker-panned beats jumble in and try really hard to make you lose your mind. “The Wizard Drips” is the shortest piece but it ends up being an entrancing psychic death march. “16 16 16” is a half hour long and takes up the entire second side of the tape, and it features the type of mind-warping that can only be accomplished with an EVI.

Khaki Blazer: Didn’t Have To Cut tape (Hausu Mountain, 2017)

August 13, 2017 at 10:08 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Khaki Blazer: Didn’t Have To Cut tape

The newest brain-scrambler from Pat Modugno of Moth Cock features the type of rapidly fluctuating samples and abstract rhythms that are to be expected from him, but in some ways this one feels a bit more spacious and aired-out. There’s some airy drones and sensuous lingering behind all the squeaking and bonking and glitching. After the alarming test tones of “Saturn Rings”, “Passive Demon” is all sparkling constellations and cartoon powerdrills, and it rapidly switches between overwhelming enlightenment and sugar-spiked silliness. There’s moments where it’s like someone getting really starry-eyed and introspective and bordering on profound, and then the yoga mat gets pulled up from under them and they’re beaten over the head with it. Lightly, of course. This isn’t violent music in any way. It’s lopsided and goofy and trippy but not mean-spirited. Also, in a plunderphonic stroke of genius, the 11-minute album-ending dronescape “Death Bedhead” is constantly interrupted with a recurring sample of that annoying Gotye song, revealing the source of the album’s title.

Crypticz: Forever 12″ EP (Cosmic Bridge, 2017)

August 13, 2017 at 8:29 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Crypticz: Forever 12″ EP

Very good modern drum’n’bass, heavy on drizzling rainfall and tension. The production isn’t overwhelmingly dense, but it does sound busy. The beats are fast (although there’s some halftime rhythms as well) and the rest of the sounds are spacious and mist-like. These are not tear-out club tracks, they’re themes for late-night moonlit rituals.

Pulse Emitter/Brett Naucke: Mugen Volume 9 tape (Hausu Mountain, 2017)

August 11, 2017 at 9:52 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Pulse Emitter/Brett Naucke: Mugen Volume 9 tape

The ninth volume of Hausu Mountain’s split series (consisting of solo live performances with no overdubs) starts with a trio of typically crystalline pieces from Pulse Emitter. They’re clear and reflective, but also three dimensional and sometimes rapidly twisting and swerving. They’re like crystal charms that dance on their own, even without wind. The Brett Naucke side is anything but new age, although it also seems multi-dimensional and holophonic. It’s a lot darker and more haunted, with sinister whispers and dripping beats which skitter and hobble. Right after it’s gotten to the point where you’re sure you’ve been sleepwalking into a black hole, it gets to a slow pounding beat which disintegrates and leaks out into some sort of free-floating metallic ooze, which seems to magnetically form into a loose, prickly rhythm. Does that explain it? Probably not, because it can’t be explained. You’ll only find out if you listen.

Ali King: 12″ EP (Vanity Press, 2017)

August 10, 2017 at 12:06 am | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Ali King: 12″ EP

The latest Vanity Press 12″ starts out with some jazzy broken-beat-but-not-quite house with soulful keyboard licks and bongos over a galloping beat. “Return” brings the lushness, with slightly hazy 808 State-y synth strings, simple but busy beats, a bit of distortion, and not much else. The claps get you totally in the spirit. “Session 28” starts smooth and bubbly, and then the sax loop comes in. “Nebula” rides some bouncy delayed claps and thumps, with a bit more sax tucked underneath, and then some sneaky breakbeats pop up during the second half. A very vibey record overall.

Black Noi$e: 12″ EP (Vanity Press, 2017)

August 9, 2017 at 11:36 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Black Noi$e: 12″ EP

Noted Detroit hip-hop producer flips to house music with this surprising (but unsurprisingly great) 12″ on Vanity Press. “Sunburn” is the 45 RPM A-side, and its sunny beat sort of smooths out its sense of paranoia (although that screwy synth line on top hits you in the jaw). On the 33 B-side, “Freaknik” has more of a swing to it, with some faded jazzy samples and strings. “Brick Wall” starts out with knocking beats making you think you’re in for some sort of knackered UK bass deconstruction, but then it switches to breezy yet very busy electro, with snatches of harps and angelic vocals as well as other wisps of sounds floating around. This is thinking ahead. Pay attention!

HOM: A$X LP (Isounderscore, 2017)

August 9, 2017 at 11:17 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

HOM: A$X LP

Seattle’s Ashley P. Svn recorded this LP of hardware-driven techno tracks, recorded live and filled with psychic energy. There’s only 3 tracks here, and they flow where the spirit takes them, bubbling and fizzing and churning and doing anything but fall into predictable patterns. Following the aimless (not an insult) journey of “Xanoptor” (probably not related to Xanopticon) taking up the entirety of the A side, “Xeremonial” is a bit more plugged into the mainframe, with busier beats, deeper bass, trippier delay, and more hypnotic sequences. “Xyn” is even more mental, upping the acid quotient and spraying everything with more mind-tazering effects. I love how ’90s-yet-modern this sounds. Truly enrapturing.

Abandoned Footwear: 108 Trees LP (Isounderscore, 2017)

August 9, 2017 at 10:47 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Abandoned Footwear: 108 Trees LP

This is the debut LP by Abandoned Footwear, a project from Oakland which has been playing live for several years now. Its two members are Michael Buchanan of space-industrial-drone collective Nommo Ogo and Jay Fields, best known as breakcore/acid/IDM producer Exillon. This project is somewhere in between the two. Very spacious and ethereal, with chilly, foggy synths over steadily pumping beats. “Song 3” is caustic and uncomfortable, like alien probing set to a beat. “Song 4” is slower and less propulsive, and a whole lot more mournful, feeling like a tearful observance of a dying world. “Song 6” has a tiny bit more of a pulse to it, but otherwise explore similar terrain. A really exceptional EP of thoughtful, non-club techno.

Spencer & Saginaw: Real Talk 12″ single (Portage Garage Sounds, 2017)

August 9, 2017 at 9:56 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Spencer & Saginaw: Real Talk 12″ single

Following the success of Shigeto’s “Detroit Pt II” single on his new Portage Garage Sounds label, he gets even deeper and dirtier on the label’s second release, a collaboration with Bill Spencer under the name Spencer & Saginaw. This one doesn’t have the jazziness of “Detroit Pt II”, but it has a heavier, cloudier beat, along with some uncredited words of wisdom about life, specifically life in Detroit. You know you’re going to die someday, so do your best and people will fuck with you. The second side includes the instrumental version of the track (for daytime radio broadcasting or clubgoers with sensitive ears), and then there’s an 11-minute “AmbACID Version”, which completely dismantles the track and lets in float in the open sky, with a hint of acid burbling away down below. Truly an incredible record, surpassing the label’s first release and boding well for its future output. Also, the 12″ comes with a sheet of fake blotter paper, similar to Plastikman’s Sheet One, and there’s another card saying “Portage Garage Sounds does not condone the use of illegal substances with this art object” (hahahahahahahaha). This record isn’t available on the label’s website yet, so for now you’ll have to hit up a Detroit record store to get it.

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