Theme – Passages [Samurai Music]
In the world of drum ‘n’ bass, Samurai Music have positioned themselves at it’s forefront as a flag-bearer of consistency and diversity. From the bold, head-nodding breakouts of old heads such as Seba, to the dark, fractured work of artists like Pessimist – the label’s diverse but careful curation is it’s strongest trait. The latest record to support this mantra is the debut LP of the hugely mysterious DJ and producer Theme. Preceded by two EPs released on Samurai subsidiaries, Passages presents a series of chuggy, moody tracks floating around the 85 BPM mark. With occasional break-laden percussion to accompany the music’s low, propulsive rhythm, texture is provided by cold, sleek synth design, exemplifying a producer fully immersed in the sound of their music.
Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement – Ambient Black Magic [Hospital Productions]
Dominick Fernow, the prolific New York-based producer, has become something of a household name over the last two decades. Through his stewardship of Hospital Productions and his work under guises such as Vatican Shadow and Prurient, many now hold each new release with his name attached to it with great expectation. Ambient Black Magic, the latest release under his Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement alter ego, is no exception. Whilst centered around similar imagery and themes as 2016’s Green Graves, the record is a much more serene and warm prospect to it’s predecessor. The thirty minute long opening sojourn of ‘Jungle Is A Shapeshifter’ is a case in point: vastly drawn out, reverb soaked keys lie peacefully atop a slow, distant rumbling of throbbing, bass-heavy percussion. Featuring production assistance from Silent Servant and a pounding remix on the final track from Substance, the record’s 75 minute run-time would be a highly mediative and engaging experience for even the most impatient of listeners.
Carla Dal Forno – The Garden [Blackest Ever Black]
In terms of labels who seem to simply churn out music, Blackest Ever Black surely have to be up there with the best. Following a string of fantastic releases this year from the likes of Pessimist, Raime and John T. Gast, it is the turn of Carla Dal Forno to make her third solo appearance on the imprint. Following on from last year’s LP You Know What It’s Like, The Garden bares a similar wistful melancholia – Dal Forno’s pensive vocals adorning drawling, lo-fi guitar-led instrumentals. Whilst earmarked as a direct tribute to Einsturzende Neubauten, Dal Forno adds more than enough of her own personality and style to make this EP far more than a simple salute to the legendary German industrialists.
Jensen Interceptor – Carter’s Green Factory [Central Processing Unit]
The latest solo release from Central Processing Unit comes from Jensen Interceptor, the label’s thirteenth release of 2017. Following his appearance on the recent CPU remix compilation and last year’s M EP, the producer is starting to become something of a mainstay on the imprint. Carter’s Green Factory is a crisp, meticulously produced three-track outing – clatterings of hats and raucous basslines serenading the customary spacey synth chords. Another solid record from a label doing its utmost to cement it’s position at the center of modern electro.
NHK yx Koyxen – Exit Entrance [DFA Records]
Kohei Matsunaga makes his first appearance on New York’s legendary DFA imprint with Exit Entrance, the latest release from his NHK yx Koxyen project. A myriad of sounds come forth to the listener: whether it’s the mechanized, clanking funk of ‘Dignity’, the blissful, shimmering jaunt of ‘Meeting’ or the twelve minute, head twisting techno of album closer ‘Dented’, the record delivers stylistically on all fronts.