Equiknoxx – Colón Man [DDS]
Out of the blue last Thursday came news that Jamaican dancehall outfit Equiknoxx were releasing their first full length LP on DDS, returning to the imprint responsible for 2016’s incredible Bird Sound Power. Whilst that release was a compilation of music recorded in the decade preceding it, Colon Man comprises thirteen tracks spawned over the last twelve months. The music within is a clear culmination of many years honing their craft: a complex and complete record of dark, introspective grooves and rich production. With the menace of tracks like ‘Melodica Badness’ tempered by moments of cool serenity such as on ‘Waterfalls In Ocho Rios’, Equiknoxx have not only composed a compelling, balanced project, but also a sure contender for album of the year.
Cosey Fanni Tutti – Time To Tell [Conspiracy International]
Thirty four years on from it’s initial release on tape, Cosey Fanni Tutti’s stunning Time To Tell is given a much welcomed reissue on her and long-time bandmate Chris Carter’s Conspiracy International imprint. The Hull-born singer’s only solo release, the record’s three exploratory pieces combine vast, deep soundscapes with mournful guitar wails and sultry spoken word, recounting her experiences of the British sex industry. Time To Tell is an honest, powerful project of dizzying beauty – an artist laying bare their soul for all to see.
LOFT – Three Settlements Four Ways [Wisdom Teeth]
Mancunian producer LOFT’s latest EP Three Settlements Four Ways drops with some serious weight on Facta and K-Lone’s imprint Wisdom Teeth. Both fierce and sensitive, LOFT’s contribution sits in line with the label’s back catalogue, relating closely to the drenched depths of its Bristol-born bass wave. Joining the likes of Hodge and Simo Cell to release here, LOFT gently twists open the echo-chamber’s diversity to deliver a firm punch. Most respect for the raw injection of play: whether its the poly-rhythmic drive of ‘Funemployed’, or the stretched and warped playground vocals of ‘Oh Well, We’re All Fucked Now’ – here we have a proper attempt at a doomsday whipping party pooper.
Ploy – Unruly [Hemlock Recordings]
2017 has been a real ‘coming of age’ year for Bristolian DJ and producer Ploy. From his breakout EP on Hessle Audio in early 2016, to the Iron Lungs and Intrigued By The Drum EPs on Timedance over the next twelve months, his intricate, spooky style continued its development – eventually leading to the highly accomplished EP Unruly, recently release on Hemlock. Most notably the thrilling pulse of ‘Garys’, already delivered with devastating effect across many dancefloors, all of the record’s three tracks impress – with the beatless closer ‘Lost Hours’ a particularly tender moment, a side of Ploy’s production previously unseen.
Various Artists – Pantsula! The Rise Of Electronic Dance Music In South Africa, 1988-90 [Rush Hour]
The latest record from prolific Dutch label Rush Hour comes as a compilation exploring the origins of electronic music in South Africa in the late 1980’s, compiled by label co-founder Antal and bubblegum enthusiast DJ Okapi. Produced at the peak of the bubblegum era, this sound represents a period when “South Africa’s disco artists outgrew their American influences and forged an increasingly electronic and local pop sound” resulting in a beautifully playful and happy musical culture. Also featuring some of the best cover art to come out this year, Pantsula! is a very welcome end of the year treat.
Yamaneko – Spa Commissions [Local Action]
Rewind to the start of 2017, as London-based producer Yamaneko set forth on possibly his most eccentric project yet: producing music for a spa on the continent. Fast forward to the present to hear that music from the comfort of your own home on his latest release for Local Action: Spa Commissions. Bearing heavy stylistic similarities to his recent LP for don’t drone alone under his Talbot Fade alias, Yamaneko continues to channel his inner Vangelis as sparse, shimmering synth pads are peppered with gentle guitar plucks and xylophonic melodies. A gorgeous listen from start to finish, this LP marks a producer cementing himself as one of the most exciting in the ambient world.