Actress – AZD [Ninja Tune]
AZD sees Actress deliver a warmer, more colourful sound than previous releases while staying true his own style. The release incorporates aspects of club music with heavier bass lines and conventional percussion, along with a fair share of noise that adds texture. It all starts normal enough with the first four tracks reliant on loops until CYN and then X22RME inject a sense of urgency. The former with its pounding kicks and hip-hop vocal sample, the latter a varied high BPM techno track. After this there is Runner, which could be from Legowelt. And after four more tracks, the release ends with the fantastically exuberant Visa.
Various Artists – Miracle Steps: Music From The Fourth World (1983-2017) [Optimo Music]
On the back of an already revered catalogue of compilations, the Optimo Music imprint shines bright this week. To assemble a most ambitious, engaged, and delicately treated v/a comp, co-founder Keith McIvor (“JD Twitch”) has joined local Glaswegian collective 12th Isle’s Fergus Clark. They press out a journey gently reflecting on the drifts of Fourth World Music—an idea circling lost native traditions that became a globally communicated genre after John Hassel and Brian Eno’s work in the early 80s. Echoes of pre-Columbian instruments tinkle through wicked percussion, and global winds return their mineral acoustics. The disparate geographies of this tradition are reflected artfully, begun by thinking of origin, with Jorge Reyes (Mesoamerican inspired); and home, with Aubrey Lowe & Kalma (Nottingham gothic) and Iona Fortune (Glasgow). Fittingly, the collated artists owe significant inspiration to new age currents and migrations, whilst also bearing association to more localised esotericisms and occult associations. Succinctly true reflections link titles, provenance and sounds; together tying strong assemblages, which extend this particularly timeless strain of the “universal language”, potently.
Call Super & Shanti Celeste – DKMNTL-10YEARS02 [Dekmantel]
Dekmantel recruit two of the finest artists around, Call Super & Shanti Celeste, to produce the second instalment of their tenth anniversary series of releases. Call Super kicks things off with Fluenka Spoke, floaty and joyous throughout, the artist impresses once again with another strong output. The real star of this release is the flip and Shanti Celeste’s Hinoki, leaning on her techno influences to produce a blinder of a tune and one that is sure big this coming summer. The anniversary series is really shaping up to be something great, and with the next chapter featuring tracks from the likes of Joey Anderson and Legowelt we can’t wait to see how the series progresses.
Swaggerjack – (White) Privilege [Sacred Tapes]
Emerging from a week’s isolation in early 2015—courtesy of a Samarbeta residency at The Mill in Islington—Callum Higgins and John Powell delivered a solitary physical copy of an album to the British Library archives (location: 1LL0014093). Rather than turn details of the intimate experience straight out in trade to the public, they return to their home net of noise, Manchester’s Sacred Tapes, with a thoroughly empowered focus. The duo knowingly set ‘Privilege’ to wax; having stood up to expanded spatial recording possibilities extremely receptively. Whilst sunken synth swathes are noticeably intimate and gentle, and details of materials and textures twist and bore, more deep and grinding; the clarity, depth of field and suspense held between such pressures is really down to confidence of hand and vision. The inspiration of listening narratives and imaginary aesthetics through Swaggerjack’s sound is considerably impelled. Dark room or open space listening recommended alone.
Verge – Emblematic Ruin [Avian]
The latest release on Shifted’s Avian imprint comes from Irish producer Andre Goth, a.k.a. Verge. Emblematic Ruin, according to the label, contains “mournful melodies and carefully executed chord changes,” with an “overriding sense of melancholy.” This is a surmation we can certainly agree with, the LPs black metal and post-punk influences drowned in a droney sea of devastation. Having already seen strong releases from Skarn and The Empire Line, 2017 promises top be another top year for Avian.