Wbeeza - Void
Wouldn't you know it, it's House music. House music with a pretty deep variation in track-to-track sound, no less. "The World Is Yourz" is quite reminiscent of Fred Falke / Alan Braxe's "Links 'n' Rings" - superb House production behind an old school MC, just the way it was meant to be.
'Void' is probably one of the most anticipated House albums by a UK producer in years. It's also Wbeeza's debut LP and places him as a promising British answer to Theo Parrish in many respects. His career trajectory thus far has seen his tracks played by a range of cats from Panorama Bar's Tama Sumo, to fellow South London figurehead Cooly G, via celebrated slots at the Freerotation festival and gigs across Europe. The seventeen tracks of 'Void' displays an appreciation for and dedication to the spectrum of deep house music, taking in everything from Dilla-esque HipHop with 'The World Is Yourz' feat. Chico Santiago, to moonlit vibes in 'Let Me Know' feat. Diyana, and abstract, heady beatdown experiments such as 'Sarar' or 'Day By Day', with a couple of proper floor controllers in 'Tru My Veins' and 'Variations'. The vibes run deeep on this one...
http://www.M/F.com/?lann9x68yce3q97Cyclobe - Wounded Galaxies Tap at the Window
Stephen Thrower and Ossian Brown, longtime associates / live accompanists of Coil, as Cyclobe. They really hit upon that classic ambient industrial sound that Coil captured around the turn of the millennium.
There are very real reasons why Cyclobe albums are so infrequent, as Ossian Brown and Stephen Thrower seem to deliberately eschew or expertly conceal most of the tools that similar artists rely upon (improvisation, chance/randomness, repetition, etc.) in favor of a constantly shifting and deliberate abstract narrative. There is a purposefulness and articulation to Cyclobe’s brand of psychotropic mindfuckery that is very much their own. Their best work (such as this album) feels like a twisted, meticulously composed infernal symphony or an ambitiously nightmarish film soundtrack for a film that no one could possibly make. Wounded Galaxies evokes something far too extreme and abstract to capture with words and images: a deep, timeless, all-consuming cosmic terror.
It is both fitting and remarkable that Brown and Thrower met through their associations with Coil. On one hand, there are enormous similarities between the two groups: a deep fascination with both the occult and obscure transgressive art, overlapping collaborators like Thighpaulsandra, the use of similar electronic textures, and so on. On the other hand, however, Cyclobe has wound up in such a completely different place that it is almost difficult to imagine that the two were ever intertwined. Cyclobe sounds like Coil's id allowed to run rampant. Ossian and Stephen certainly display a predilection for all things eerie and nocturnal, but they seem to be chasing an altogether more difficult, disturbing, snarling, and visceral vision. No one will ever confuse a Cyclobe album with ambient music.
That said, however, the first side of the album begins with some deceptively haunting and beautiful synthesizers that suggest otherwise. That feeling doesn't last long though, as "How Acla Disappeared From the Earth" quickly grows darker and more uncomfortable as more and more sounds fade in. It is one of the shorter works on the album, so it doesn't have much time to evolve; yet it features some truly wonderful gurgling and shivering weirdness in its periphery. The next song, "The Woods Are Alive with the Smell of His Coming," completely eclipses it though.
Cyclobe’s "17-minute Pagan opus" was actually debuted on its own last year as part of an exhibition at The Tate Gallery St. Ives and it is easy to see why: it is not only the centerpiece of the album, it may possibly the defining moment of the duo's career. It is built upon a simple, yet darkly exotic backbone of kalimba and Michael York’s pipes–a foundation that doesn’t change that much over the course of the piece, serving mostly as a rhythmic anchor for the surrounding maelstrom. The real excitement lies in what unfolds on top of it, as I am amazed at how many ingenious variations of "all hell breaking loose" Thrower and Brown are able to unleash: violent, discordant cello solos from John Contreras; squealing strings that sound like the swirling spirits of the damned; horrific orchestral cacophonies; and a deep creaking like the very fabric of the universe is straining and about to rupture. It is, quite simply, an utterly staggering work.
The album's second half again begins in much calmer, uncharacteristically droning fashion with "We'll Witness the Resurrection of Dead Butterflies," but its opening motif is quickly subsumed by Cliff Stapleton’s Arabic-sounding hurdy-gurdy permutations. The piece eventually reaches a bit of a lull before being torn apart by a violent series of apocalyptically crushing stabs of ugly harmony separated by quivering aftershocks. It feels like the actual earth is shuddering in terror–loud, unexpected, visceral, and awesome.
Gradually, the relentless bludgeoning gives way to some less alarming subterranean moans and rumbles and a delicately haunting piano theme takes shape over a buzzing bed of squiggling electronics. The piano piece is "Sleeper," but it is difficult to tell quite where it officially begins due to my inability to pinpoint the moment of segue. "Sleeper" is something of an aberration for the album, as it actually features some odd and creepy childlike vocals from Ossian Brown. In all other respects though, it fits in quite nicely, as the piano gradually becomes more chromatic and unmoored and the underlying music begins to lurch and swell thunderously. The title piece follows, perfectly closing the album by mangling a simple drone piece into massive swells and jarring paroxysms of dissonance. It actually has a disturbingly post-coital feel to it at times. I am curious about whether or not that was intentional, as Thrower has stated in the past that he feels that there is a "capricious sensuousness" to Cyclobe's music. It is difficult and a bit unnerving to try to imagine sex as deviant and alarming as Wounded Galaxies though.
The whole thing adds up to a rather overwhelming, unnerving, and utterly absorbing listening experience. I am fairly certain that my heart rate increased quite a bit over the course of the record, as there was no way to remain calm in the face of such disturbed content and violent dynamic shifts. It was kind of like being attacked, actually. That probably isn't an experience that appeals to most people, but Wounded Galaxies is certainly one of the most immediately striking and singular albums that anyone will release this year (and definitely the only album that can be described with phrases like "rapturous cosmic convulsion"). I don't think Brown and Thrower are particularly concerned about appealing to "most people" anyway. Despite all of its more overt charms, however, I suspect Galaxies’ greatest achievement may lie in its sheer depth and complexity: there are all kinds of layers and textures that I was far too shell-shocked to appreciate during my first several listens. This is a very hard album to fully process and I don't expect to get tired of it anytime soon.
http://www.M/F.com/?27bk6jy6qb4nr7sMaster Eveleigh - Fascinating Action
Somewhat perplexing drill'n'bass glitch music (think Lexaunculpt or Drukqs
-era Aphex Twin), buzzing and seething all the way through.
'Fascinating Action' is the 2nd release on Lab Beat, and the first and only from Mr Master Eveleigh. He's obviously spent a fair bit of time listening to Squarepusher circa 'Come To Daddy' and AFX's 'Girl/Boy' song, judging by 'Chat Perdu (Pornography Mix)' and this same obsession with trickily enhanced rhytms shines through in the Rephlexian special 'Cornish Clotted Cream' and the masterful programming prowess of 'Gangsta Glitch'. Fans of The Tuss, The Wisp, or Jodey Kendrick should really check this out.
http://www.M/F.com/?ec8c7a8kabq6a3kMr. One Two - The Lost Country
Latest from Garage boutique L2S. Prime dancefloor cuts.
Another debut from L2S records, this time courtesy of Mr One Two. 'The Lost Country' faces Eastwards for melodic inspiration and fuses it with swinging Garage breaks in laidback style. 'Tibetan Bowl' is equally atmospheric, but with a more active 2-step swing and morphed vocals from Blender.
http://www.M/F.com/?eggarcssy3llyt7M2J - Infinity Complex
They released this one just last week. Absolutely killer 2-step raving on the A, with a grime-ier, Terror Danjah-esque B-side, formant'd bassline and all. The best L2S in awhile.
http://www.M/F.com/?lf5a7y6gcyfos2sSp:mc and Lx One - Down / Judgment
Classically sparse dubstep in the Pinch / Darqwan mold. Almost trip-hop.
One of the freshest pairings in purist dubstep deliver lushed-out heavyweights for Tempa. 'Down' takes it back to deep end '06 styles with plummeting subs and suspended halfstep patterns enveloped within widescreen aquatic dub zones. 'Judgement' has a more purposeful dread personality, bowling lethal sub moves under crafty, double time fluctuations with a proper old skool Pinch sensibility. Deep and extra deadly gear.
http://www.M/F.com/?oy0xknkx60da0oxAudiofun - Racket
Taut and nervous electro-house, with none of that fuckin' Ed Banger coke'n'leather bullshit. For whatever reason, none of the remixes are identified so you end up with two clutches of three songs with the same name and different sounds.
http://www.M/F.com/?wfr9o6g7co464d1Gremino - Ruffness / Silver
The latest from the quietly consistent Car Crash Set imprint, home to Blind Prophet and more. The A-side is a whiplash-inducing stepper cut, the B-side steps up the warped rave influences to near-Raffertie levels.
http://www.M/F.com/?32aah17jijja28aJacques Greene - The Look EP
From Montreal by way of Dublin, Jacques Greene makes heart-touching, foot-moving House in the Tom Trago mode, with a little more in the way of modern synthwork and a remarkably light touch when it comes to gated pads. Pretty great, and fitting with LuckyMe's collective vision.
Electro-seared Funky party cuts from Jacques Greene on his debut solo EP. With 'The Look' he joins a enviable list of debut contributions on Lucky Me, Hud Mo, American Men and Nadsroic among them, but brings something quite different to the table. The debonaire bounce of 'The Look' rolls with lazer-guided precision, no sweaty business here, while 'Good Morning' is like some new strain of deeper, introverted electroFunky with Deep House keys and tinted midnight vibes. 'Holdin' On' drops in a canny R&B swinger, with subtle but damn effective edits and seasick synths in the closing stages reminding us of Machinedrum and Praveen's 'Sepalcure EP' and 'Tell Me' keeps the drums loose and woozy while a synaesthetic light show of sublimely layered synths totally captures our attention. Fans of the more refined strains of Deep Teknologi, Cooly G, Kode 9 or L-Vis should be all over this.
http://www.M/F.com/?kp740w0y0kucmo1Downliners Sekt - We Make Hits, Not the Public
The Autechre comparisons are apt only in that this is really impeccably produced - the punch of the drums and the buzz of the bass is pretty unbelievable, but it isn't remote or proggy the way Autechre often is. I passed on these guys before and I guess I really shouldn't have. This is what Eskmo would sound like if he wasn't so tangled up in that brostep problem. With Eskmo, James Blake and this, maybe vox direct from the DJ is becoming a new Thing.
We Make Hits, Not the People is the second in a trilogy of physically-released EPs by Downliners Sekt, four tracks exploring the innermost mechanisms of electronic music. Gears grind, pistons slam, exposed circuity enervates by rerouting electricity into explosive dead ends, all that good industrial stuff. Not unlike Raster-Noton's recent output, the fastidiously mechanical music shares certain structural ideas with dubstep. However, the force with which these beats crash and skid on the warehouse floor packs a determined wallop far greater than even the deepest sub-bass caverns of London.
As opposed to the unfriendly "industrial detritus" of preceding EP Hello Lonely, Hold the Nation, Hits feels more structured. Every track carries some sort of vocal melody, presumably sampled from any number of pop or R&B sources. They may be fragmented and occasionally encased in suffocating bulletproof glass, but they're melodies nonetheless. Downliners Sekt don't go about the typical route of dehumanizing androgyny or fashioning the anthemic and triumphant out of snippets, but rather use their siren songs to thicken the dread. On "White Dawn," a disconnected voice tremulously whimpers "I feel so cold"—it's too easy, too obvious and too effective.
"From Under Spinning Lights" starts the EP off with subtle sputters, synths whirring in the background—until the swinging beat finally drops, brutal by anyone's standards. This is painful music. Probing tendrils of electricity snarl and spark, menacingly creeping up the sides. The softly cooing vocals exhorting that "love is real" from somewhere deep within the track's churning chambers are mocking, an ugly approximation of humanity from a hulking mech.
Those electric currents combine with the beats for the startling "Incertia Gloria": Think five Reese basslines playing at once. But just like the previous EP, the final track shows the most progress: the potential energy of "Selfish G" is such that it sounds like the track is compelled to move, a violent thrust that nearly brings it down from within. Horns murmur in the distance and vocals babble meaningless phrases that ride the same unnatural horizontal trajectory; this mechanical beast isn't even pretending to be human anymore. As the track burns itself out, consumed by digital distortion flames, it becomes a question of whether or not Downliners Sekt vision is a dystopian reality or a nightmarish hallucination, but while their beats are playing, the thrilling terror—or awe—they inspire renders such matters meaningless.
http://www.M/F.com/?tr67h29tyoo6euvThe Drop / C.R.S.T - Looking to the Sky: The Remixes
Went out of my comfort zone and took a chance on this clutch of lite reggae remixes. The results are really hooky and unusually deft, as remix EPs go. Goes down real easy.