Various Artists – Knowes Universal Broadcast: Seg 1
Scottish label Craigie Knowes supplies the highlight of the week with ‘Knowes Universal Broadcast: Seg 1’, featuring tracks from Baltra, Highfield Casuals, Natureboy Gold and Steven Simpson. The release starts with Baltra’s ‘Fade away’, an acidic tale complemented beautifully by lo fi bass, following this we have an electro masterpiece by Highfield Casuals with ‘Highfield Daze’. On the flip you can find possibly our favourite track of the release, ‘Prozac Test’ by Natureboy Gold, slowly building with until around the 5 minute mark where some of the finest acid production can be heard to bring the track to its emotive peak. Finally Steven Simpson closes the the release with the magnificent dubby, acidic ‘Qaua’. This has quickly become one of our favourite releases of this year with four brilliant individual tracks each connected by a mutual respect and love for acid and electro.
Various Artists – Good Times, Bad Friends
Good Times Bad Friends, a project initiated to bring together and highlight the sounds of 3 Mannheim based labels. The project looks to dive into its hometown glory and showcases the emerging talent shining through the roots in their local community. The first of a series of 3 EP’s, this release features pieces from Ho Do Ri, Fabe and Durrred. Each artist bringing their own take to the smooth, deep and groovy house sound that is ever pertinent throughout. Ho Do Ri opts for a bouncy vocal over equally as established bass notes, creating a sharp minimal atmosphere. Fabe turns the tables slightly and slips into something a little sexier. More funk induced lows and shiny, wobbling synths string out a groove irresistible to the seasoned head bopper. The final track ‘A quarter to ten’ by Durrred follows in the same footsteps and further smoothens the forecast with perhaps the most truly exceptional piece of the EP. With absolutely irresistible patterns of dull, dipping and rolling bass it puts an anticipating smile on the face of anyone lucky enough to begin listening. Broken hats and filtered piano chords illuminate as Durrred leads you to the boudoir in the little black dress that is his input. This is only the first of three releases that sees Sukhumvit Records, Madeia Records and Valioso Recordings come together. It’s fair to say we are excited for the rest.
Ossia – Control / Version / Information / Version
The next release from Berceuse Heroique is some fresh UK dub techno, this time from Bristol based producer Ossia. Both the 12’s in this double pack provide an incredible sound system influenced club track and more ambient version of the title track. “Control” is driven forward by a dubby bassline of pure rolling weight. Behind this focus point the floating and slightly echoed synths create a dark, brooding, and sometimes chaotic atmosphere. Combined with the off kilter snare, sparse drums, and pervading electronic sounds “Control” is a master class. “Information” has more percussive presence yet still remains a wonderfully dark and rolling piece. The atmosphere is one of constant development and progress; however, the dark bassline and electronic growls serve to almost overload “Information” at points, yet Ossia always keeps it just in check. Both “Versions” are far more spacious than their original mix versions, and yet they both maintain a highly textured sound pallet throughout. To summarise the latest Berceuse Heroique is another great dub techno release, with clear nods towards the current UK dance music, and its entire rich heritage.
Giorgio Luceri – Space Fire Truth
Giorgio Luceri continues to cement his place as a producer of real worth with his first release on London based imprint Uzuri Recordings. With a back catalogue that includes releases from the likes of Move D and Cassy, Luceri’s ‘Space Fire Truth’ is a welcome addition to an impressive collection. Far from being overly electronic, this record features a wide range of live instrumentation that gives the EP an interesting feel. The opening track ‘Along Came Ra’ incorporates a delightful noodle-y guitar riff offset by frantic live percussion. The track continually grows in intensity throughout, not simply relying on one ‘drop’ to determine a point of excitement. In similar vein, B-side ‘Doorway to Another Dimension of Being’, whilst initially harbouring a jazzy vibe suited more to a Costa shop than Corsica Studios, slowly intensifies as both organs and ride cymbal grow more frantic before bursting out into a full-blown garage-influence groove of breaks. The flip side of the record, whilst more overtly electronic, continue the feeling of progressive sound to round of what is a heartily enjoyable record.
Mark Pritchard – Beautiful People
Mark Pritchard graces our ears with ‘Beautiful People’, released on the illustrious label Warp and taken from the album ‘Under the Sun’ out in May this year. Radiohead front-man Thom Yorke lends his dulcet vocals to the song to combine with Pritchard’s tranquil melodies to create a powerful yet chilling experience. Waves of synths propel the listener along a gentle musical pathway immersing you into the transcendent soundscape that Pritchard constructs. The B side features an alternative instrumental version of the song, equally as impressive as the first and with enough charm of its own to validate a second version. This time we are treated to more ambient version of the former, gently leading the listener further down the path of subtle discovery. ‘Beautiful People’ showcases Pritchard’s talents in production and with the wealth of musical understanding he possesses it’s hard to find fault in this impressive output.