Various Artists – Mono No Aware [PAN]
This week our top spot exults the carefully curated compilation of ambient recordings released by PAN. The sixteen-track experience harks from some respected and touring artists; sounds from figures more recently scouted into their fold; and other first-timers with souls by means, no less well-travelled. Following Kareem Lotfy’s ‘Fr3sh’ seaward cleanser, textured tides draw the listener into a wicked shore. Haunted with vocal actuality, we cross the work of Malibu, then Yves Tumor’s exceptional mining of ‘Limerence’. Akin to ‘The Feeling When You Walk Away’ from his cataclysmic PAN album last year, we are reminded of how his hand can also delicately wrench your heart out. Special mentions to AYYA’s beautifully corrupted ‘Second Mistake’, placed well to twist the sanctity out of ADR’s ‘Open Invitation’; further, Jeff Witscher’s hazy contribution mounts a windy bag, bridged by the droneish ‘TCF’, to be delivered by the perhaps surprising collaboration of James K and Eve Essex. To finish, HVAD and Pan Daijing also come together on the comp, seamlessly merging and blending sounds into a fell swoosh, perhaps at once metropolis material and an ode to Tibetan winds.
Dopplereffekt – Cellular Automata [Leisure System]
In the ten years since the release of Gerald Donald and Michaela To-Nhan Bertel’s last full length LP, Dopplereffekt have developed an affinity with the Berlin record label Leisure System. Cellular Automata is the duo’s third release on the German imprint, the previous two comprising one solo EP and a 12” with Objekt. Fiersome, powerful drum programming has been a signature current running through all Donald’s work dating back to his partnership with James Stinson – and it continues to this day. Cellular Automata sounds as fresh and exciting as much of Drexciya’s work and indeed Donald’s vast, sprawling personal discography.
Lars Bartkuhn – Massai [Utopia]
Massai is Lars Bartkuhn’s second EP for Utopia Records after 2016’s stunning Nomad. The producer seeks to use the release to start a movement away from repetitive beats to a more advanced spiritual sound, but it instead highlights the producer’s skilful composition and musicality with Bartkuhn on bass, drums, guitar, vocals, piano and synthesizer. The EP is composed of two tracks that each are highly enjoyable, although the obvious highlight is within Massai Part 1 when the Harvey Sutherland esque bass line is joined by a fantastic melody and then chords.
Awanto 3 – Gargamel [Dekmantel]
Rush Hour regular Steven Van Hulle returns for another release on the institution that is Dekmantel. Artistically known as Awanto 3, the Dutch producer and DJ is a part of a group of artists to emerge from the Lowlands in the last five years alongside the likes of Tom Trago and Central to peddle vibrant, Chicago-influenced house music that wobbles and glides it’s way through dancefloors. Thus defining a sound indefinitely associated with the Amsterdam-based label, this LP arrives just in time for summer with more than enough heat within to make it a worthy addition to any selector’s record bag.
WHYT010 – Coby Sey [Whities]
After a superb year in 2016, Tasker’s Whities imprint ring in the new year with yet another leftfield, original release that brims with style and character. For the tenth instalment on the label Whities welcome South London native Coby Sey to deliver his debut label release, after last year’s unsigned “Shields / I Have To” single. Toeing the fine line between club and experimental music, the record is dripping in imagery of Coby’s hometown. Brazen beats and murky vocals, delivered in a searing monotone, meet us on second track ‘All Change’, who’s accompanying video visually compliment the Coby’s aural representation of the DLR. Far from esoteric, the localised recollections and contexts that adorn WHYT010 are what give this record it’s attraction – it’s dark and mysterious centre accessible to even the most rural of souls.
Special Request – Stairfoot Lane Bunker [Houndstooth]
One artist in the modern age of dance music who’s work seem’s to consistently transcend taste-based divions in the scene, flitting between labels and aliases, is Paul Woolford a.k.a. Special Request. With a rich and varied discography, Woolford’s output maintains consistent themes throughout, as displayed in his penchant for breaks throughout Stairfoot Lane Bunker. ‘Redrum’ and the title track are both evident of this, whilst the latter’s Minor Science remix adds an interesting dimension to this already impressive EP.