In-House Pharmacy: We Are Electronics and Piano Only (self-released, 2020)

November 25, 2020 at 5:20 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

In-House Pharmacy: We Are Electronics and Piano Only

Lauren Bousfield and Naomi Mitchell recorded this EP using just modular synth and piano, and while that might seem like a simple description, these are still highly complex, explosive pieces. Definitely not as pop-minded or cathartic as Bousfield’s recent masterpiece Palimpsest, and quite looser — opener “Field of Wires” almost feels like a sort of jam session, with breaks rumbling far underneath the stomping kick and classical piano melodies. “A Poem Recited From The Beak Of A Raven” is much more destructive, vaguely starting out kosmische and then bursting forward with very raw, feedback-y breakbeats and twisted analog textures. Meanwhile the piano rumbles along and keeps up the suspense. “At Dusk, On Television” has a momentary break from the noise so that the piano playing shines through more. “Tiny Claws” forgoes beats, and is instead a tense, unnerving duet for waltzing piano and harsh, buzzing feedback which seems more structured the more you pay attention.

Show #557 – 11/22/20

November 22, 2020 at 10:54 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

Plod ~ Aptaxi
2Lanes feat. Kesswa, John F.M., Ian Fink & Shigeto ~ Baby’s Born to Fish…
REQ & Smudge ~ Change le Beat (Etch Remix)
Cofaxx ~ Mauve Tracksuit
Dexplicit ~ Aerospace
John Carroll Kirby featuring Eddie Chacon and Nailah Hunter ~ High
Quakers feat. Sampa the Great ~ Approach with Caution
Model Home x His Name Is Alive ~ To Remember Dub
Moon Wiring Club ~ Purred Applause
Mort Garson ~ Realizations of an Aeropolis
Heathered Pearls ~ Pain Tolerance
Build Buildings ~ Indigo Bunting
Oliver Coates ~ Butoh Baby
Omni Gardens ~ Golden Pothos
Fred Thomas ~ Sonar

Kanyon: s/t (Towhead, 2020)

November 22, 2020 at 11:32 am | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Kanyon: s/t

Don’t have a whole lot of info on this one, but it’s on Color Plus’s label, so that’s enough of a recommendation. The cover art hints at some sort of black metal demo, but the tracks are various shades of post-club styles. “Straight Ether” is gently shifting breakbeats with relaxing mellow-AFX textures. “Vroom” is much more active and playful, with motoric breaks that prompt you to skip around the room. “Patternmaster” is a much trickier, tenser drum’n’bass-ish track, all nervous, choppy breaks and no release. “Number One” has a sequence of bubbly tones that are so soothing it might make you overlook how complex the beats are. “Six Track” is another track filled with tough, crunchy breaks, and after that it’s time for a pause to refresh, so “Tldr” is a gentle two-minute bath with some squishy synths toward the end. The short, slow-motion snow trudge “Morbid” serves as another resting period in between longer, breakier, busier tracks, with “Green” being a foggy swirl of crashing Amens and half-buried woodwinds.

Tim Reaper: Cityscapes EP (Lobster Theremin, 2020)

November 21, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Tim Reaper: Cityscapes EP

One of the longtime regulars of Blog to the Oldskool, Tim Reaper has been absolutely slaying for years, both as a DJ and producer. His first EP for Lobster Theremin is appropriately titled Cityscapes, and from the title track it just brings vibes of cruising through a city at night, endless hours at clubs, just letting yourself go. Totally swoon-worthy but also really vicious, heavy drum programming. “Sequence 2” is ecstasy-shot techno rather than jungle, but carries the same feelings and doesn’t sound a bit out of place. “Make It Real” is one of those tracks that immediately sounds familiar, just a torrent of brutal drums and mystical melodies — nothing that hasn’t really been done circa 1995 but still just a timeless sound. Instant classic. “(I Can) Feel It” blends atmospheric jungle with early ’90s hardcore, mixing thumpy kicks with filtered breaks, and showering it with gorgeous synths. Super lovely EP, and just a tip of the iceberg from a massively talented and prolific producer.

X-Altera: New Harbinger EP (Sneaker Social Club, 2020)

November 20, 2020 at 6:49 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

X-Altera: New Harbinger EP

Ann Arbor legend Tadd Mullinix started the X-Altera alias a few years ago, exploring a fusion of drum’n’bass and breakbeat techno nodding to mid-’90s acts like Jacob’s Optical Stairway. After an amazing debut album on Ghostly, his new EP arrives on leading U.K. hardcore revivalist label Sneaker Social Club, and it’s another fantastic set of ever-twisting rhythms and lush, fluid textures. Combining several elements from jungle’s golden era, there’s time-stretched ragga vocals, atmospheric sax flutters, heavy yet relaxing bass, and some choice nature samples. The vibes are super positive and the beats constantly trek down different paths while keeping you on your feet. It’s just a beautiful, timeless sound and few, if any, are doing it better.

96 Back: Sugilite (Local Action, 2020)

November 19, 2020 at 8:32 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

96 Back: Sugilite

One of CPU’s primary electro alchemists makes the leap to Local Action with one of his most advanced, club-forward releases yet. “Half a Reach” is the type of ultra-detailed IDM which doesn’t abandoned the funk and places an equal emphasis on breakbeat buggery, haunting melodies, and chippy synth tones. “Hot Tip” starts out a little close to the Bug’s mutated dancehall, but gets more cybernetic from there. “Inclination Fresh” is more funky IDM that always moves in different directions but doesn’t get it twisted. “Waif” has much more of a heavier electro beat, but it’s still filled with corkscrews, drop-outs, and change-ups. Way excited to hear where he goes from here.

Solypsis: Is This Breakcore? (self-released, 2020)

November 18, 2020 at 6:36 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Solypsis: Is This Breakcore?

Asking a literal question of whether his music belongs in the scene he’s been associated with for decades, Solypsis’s recent EP also dredges up the never truly answered question of what breakcore really is in the first place. There’s always been so many different approaches to it, usually revolving around fast, complex, distorted breaks, but no real set-in-stone rules or guidelines, which is why it’s always been so fascinating. The first track, “Nostalgia Plunderer”, definitely fills the quota of noisy breaks and heavy kicks, but “Fuck It (Ver2)” is closer to industrial techno which just gets more distorted and terror-filled. “Crumbs of 2003” has a neat trick of combining complex d’n’b breakbeats with slow industrial kicks which accelerate at times. “Break Gourds” is another in-the-red throttler with breaks and kicks so flame-smothered they’re crispy. Final track “I Don’t Make Breakcore” is some of the most hellish drum’n’bass imaginable. To answer the question, I would say yes, because it does have hard, noisy breaks, but also because pushing the limits of the genre has always been an important part of it, and this certainly does that.

Nicolas Bougaïeff: Higher Up The Spiral (Mute, 2020)

November 16, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Nicolas Bougaïeff: Higher Up The Spiral

Nicolas Bougaïeff’s first album for Mute, The Upward Spiral, is a grand, ambitious set filled with unpredictable twists and rhythmic shifts. Its remix album takes these tracks into several further directions, most excitingly when a few experimental drum’n’bass producers take a crack at them. Overlook’s “The Upward Spiral” starts out as a back-alley creeper and then explodes, bringing the shivers like peak techstep. Sam KDC’s “Nexus” plays with the contorted rhythms of the original and ends up with some heavy, breaky terror-techno. Dusty Kid and Benjamin Damage both remix “Thalassophobia”, and both keep the interlocked yet disorienting patterns of the original but add a heavier thump for the clubs. Other mixes tend to retain the grittiness and some of the percolating sequences but make them feel more straightened out. Kosei Fukuda does something different though, turning it into a slower, more measured ambient techno track which could also be heard as very nuanced drum’n’bass. For something more storming and heart-on-sleeve melodic enough to approach trance, but coated in sizzling static, there’s Aoud’s “Listen Carefully to the Heart Beat”. Surprisingly enough, breakcore OG Din-ST appears with a mix of “Nexus” which honestly doesn’t add much to the original, but it’s still nice to see his name pop up. The title track, a collaboration with Private Agenda, concludes the release, and it’s actually a pleasant, sparkly pop song, yet it has all the tempo shifting and rhythmic contortion of Bougaïeff’s album.

Show #556 – 11/15/20

November 15, 2020 at 10:56 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

Borai & Denham Audio ~ Make Me
Thiago Nassif ~ Plástico
Oli XL ~ Mimetic
Metic ~ Matrix Blaster
AceMoMA x Kanyon ~ Omnipresence
Akkord ~ Scalar Wave
Suzi Analogue ~ To See Another Day
Standing on the Corner ~ Angel
Quakers feat. Boog Brown ~ All of It
Mad Professor ~ Black Orpheus Dub
Mort Garson ~ Dream Sequence 1
Oneohtrix Point Never ~ Fourier Ocean Scenes
Os Mutantes ~ Panis et Circenses

v/a: Endangered Species Vol. 1 (Dark Entries, 2020)

November 15, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

v/a: Endangered Species Vol. 1

This is the first installment of Dark Entries’ series of ultra-rare curiosities emanating from deep within the past; tracks which may have only been rumored to exist, or may have toiled away in a box in a closet or attic, forgotten about for decades. It starts off with “Munich”, a somewhat garish ’80s Bowie knockoff from a pre-Dust Brothers John King, produced in 1983. The synths themselves are a bit closer to some sort of Italo-new wave hybrid, but the vocals are definitely Bowie-esque. The Actor’s “Picture 210” is lonesome, sequencer-driven minimal wave with shades of Gary Numan, definitely closer to the types of music DE was putting out more frequently when they first started out a decade or so ago. Brazil’s “Tvoj Svojet” is simply the Croatian cover of “Mad World” you never knew you needed to hear. Jamal Khe’s “L’Étranger (Ana Gharib)” is French-Algerian disco sung in Arabic, sounding way closer to Italo than raï, and it’s possibly the biggest revelation here. “Abemus Mind” by Nightless is a slower, more haunted one that unexpectedly features some gentle acoustic guitar and jazzy piano soloing, not to mention layers of sinister vocoders which cackle near the end. There’s lots more strangeness to uncover…

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