Music Reviews

Mytron & Ofofo: Ceremony

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Oct 29 2018
Artist: Mytron & Ofofo
Title: Ceremony
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Multi Culti
Though hailing from Switzerland and Poland, much of the tone of this six-track, 26-minute EP feels like a Mediterranean or African take on mellow mid-tempo house with shades of old-school analogue disco. Gentle hand-tapped rhythms with light drum machine house patterns, soft bass guitar grooves with a strong funk thread, and sunkissed atmospherics combine into a generally feel-good pack of mostly-instrumentals to strut to.

The soft funk and sexy vocoder of “Medicine Man” is a highlight, as is the lovely brass work on the title track. The lead promo track is “Lebanese Red Bird” which highlights the exotic flavours really well and is a good indicator of what you’ll get here.

Each track’s relatively compact, everything under five minutes, but still generally DJ friendly and it’s a neat pack that will help add some extra texture to your downtempo set.

The Cyclist: Boards Of Chicago

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Oct 05 2018
Artist: The Cyclist
Title: Boards Of Chicago
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Tropical Animals
This is an interestingly blended three-pack. The title track is an up-tempo electro jack near-instrumental with a crisp and rather catchy lo-fi aesthetic and a little bit of everything, sometimes recalling progressive house, sometimes 90’s bigbeat almost.

A2 “Jackson Kalter” takes an old blues recording and builds a steady lower-paced and quite deferential instrumentation around it in a way that’s not miles away from Moby’s “Play” but with some deliberately rougher edges, before the deceptively titled B-side “Madass” is the calmest track of the set, a fairly perky light-touch techno instrumental with soft building pads and a sunny afternoon vibe that’s undercut a little by a harsher synth bassline.

A nice crisp second release on the Tropical Animals label which looks like it’s going to be one to watch.

Fabio Fabio: Amore Cannibale

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Sep 21 2018
Artist: Fabio Fabio
Title: Amore Cannibale
Format: 12"
Label: Ivreatronic
The second release on the Ivreatronic label is an EP, four tracks of lower-tempo, mostly-instrumental tribal house (or at a push soft techno) with strong, at times almost moombahton-ish grooves and a gentle toe-tapping appeal.

The title track builds really nicely, only properly kicking in well over three minutes in with a nice display of measured structure. “Alma” is a deeper offering with a slowly unfolding acid pattern rumbling under gun-percussion snares and some quirky throat singing noises towards the end.

“Frutto Del Paradiso” suffers from excessive sidechain compression but otherwise is a nice bouncy interplay of kick-and-clap and sampled folksy guitar and vocal sounds, while “You Got It” rolls around an infectious synth bassline and simple, slightly-off bell-sound melody.

It’s a strong pack of slow, accessible tracks with a feel-good vibe and a nice bit of character.

Frits Wentink: Two Bar House Music & Chord Stuff Vol. 3

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Sep 13 2018
Artist: Frits Wentink
Title: Two Bar House Music & Chord Stuff Vol. 3
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Wolf Music Recordings
The conclusion of Frits Wentink’s trilogy of EP’s under the extremely reviewer-friendly name of “Two Bar House Music & Chord Stuff” is a pack of four classic-style house tracks circa 125bpm, with light stepping beats and claps and lovely melodic synth work, FX and little vocal snippets- never a full vocal- wandering confidently and warmly over the top.

Numbered rather than named, each track does have its own character. “Theme 9” is bright and quite energetic, with some nice sharp-cut cymbal work. “Theme 10” is more stripped back, focussing on a bouncy little synth bassline and some rather cheesy, cheap-sounding (but strangely not in a bad way) organ keys. “Theme 11” has a touch of the funk and a bit of a Lenny D vibe, before “Theme 12” loops back to “Theme 9”’s vibe but less vocal, with shades of Todd Edwards.

A really nice bundle of feel-good house stuff that does exactly what it says on the packaging.

PRO424: Before Immunity

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Sep 10 2018
Artist: PRO424 (@)
Title: Before Immunity
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Lamour Records (@)
Rated: *****
PRO424 is Stockholm (Sweden) based artist and producer Maximilian Karlander who also happens to be a bioengineer. 'Before Immunity' is PRO424's followup to the 2015 'Immune' album which is actually a prequel, as evidenced by the title. This is techno to be sure, but of a richly melodic sort of techno. My first impression of it was "prog-rock goes ambient," but that really doesn't tell you much of anything, except perhaps that it's quite busy (many sequenced notes) and that it has an ambient-esque flavor. In a sense, this is one long piece consisting of five parts - The Human Condition, Improvements, Time Will Tell, The Happiest Days of Their Lives, Life Finds a Way. There is some nodding reference to Richie Hawtin and Tangerine Dream with seemingly endless synth arpeggio repetition, but I'm sure you could come up with a dozen other artists this may remind you of as well. The music is highly rhythmic but not necessarily beat-focused, although that does come into play. The whole album has a certain blending flow to it, and a somewhat psychedelic hypnotic effect (bordering on trance) that most should find fairly pleasing. We don't seem to get enough of this kind of music released on vinyl nowadays, so obviously that would be the preferred format. Good for sunny day spacing, or the walk of life.

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