Alphonse – Smokey
Earning a second consecutive week as our hottest highlight, Alphonse Rozel is the staying fire our winter has been waiting for. Quickly following his Forgotten Memories press through Black Orpheus, he turns to Emotional Especial to release Smokey, an exquisite mesh of afro-dub-house and liquid disco breakbeats, forging the ultimate warrior’s dance. Popping bongo rhythms filled with bassline booms drum up a weighty body of characterful ritualistic energy. With exquisite compliments from Alphonse’s choice disco beats and far-off airy floor toms, glitch-glanced water synths shimmer in and out, and filter up to elixirous cuts, inviting its tribal chant to run the course of an infinite atmosphere. With fantastic remixes from rising stars working in France, including Lyon-based duo The Pilotwings, and an equally aqueous leaning warrior signed to Brothers from Different Mothers earlier this year, DJ Normal 4, the record comes together as any jungle-kissed dance lover’s essential piece of 2016 history.
Various Artists – Emerald City
New label Verdant present their first release in the form of ‘Emerald City’ a compilation of deep, techno sounds from John Shima, Plant 43, Mihail P and Leigh Dickson. Despite featuring no household names, this EP certainly still carries weight. All four tracks bring an accomplished, driving flavour to the listener, built around powerful offbeats and trickling percussion. Otherworldly synth sounds swirl and glisten above the throng below, melting into the track in a similar fashion to the gorgeous artwork. The music here would function perfectly to preserve energy, whilst simultaneously colouring an atmosphere. Top work!
Beatrice Dillon – Can I Change My Mind?
In the latest from Record store label Boomkat Editions and the second instalment in their new one-sided 12” series, Beatrice Dillon gives us 13 minutes showcasing a mastery in rhythm and production. ‘Can I Change My Mind?’ is an ever evolving piece, flitting between different beats patterns and tempos. There is no need for a second side to this record as the first is all you will ever need. Hypnotic and full of class this release is not to be missed, the first bunch of copies will be pressed on clear blue vinyl in a limited pressing. Grab one while you still can!
Various Artists – The Second Annual Fundraiser: War Child
Having previously featured previously in our highlights feature, Craigie Knowes comes back once again with the second edition of their War Child annual fundraiser. Featuring music from big names such as Shanti Celseste, Legowelt and Chaos in the CBD, this release isn’t just promoting a worthy cause, but is also a great collection of tracks by producers at the top of their games. Featuring a range of house and techno-y sounds, as well as an experimental tripped out piece from Yoshinori Hayashi, this compilation is a great addition to any record box.
Demdike Stare – Wonderland
Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty return for their first full length LP since 2012’s Elemental. Having already released the Testpressing EP via Modern Love last year, the duo conclude this year with another appearance on the label, in the form of the dark and dangerous Wonderland. Opener ‘Curzon’ sets the tone from early, a ghoulish number that gives an indication of the heavy proceedings to follow. Their hypnotic production style is very well suited to the LP format, where the longer running time allows them more scope to explore the vast variety of sounds they seemingly enjoy working with, adding a greater depth to their music. This is most certainly one of our favourite electronic albums of the year.