Music Reviews

Freddy43: EP 02

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jun 13 2017
Artist: Freddy43
Title: EP 02
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Basserk (@)
Freddy43’s second EP on Basserk is a 3-track package of downtempo-but-cheery instrumental electronica with playful acid bleeps, warm bass notes and squelches, and a groove that’s got the swagger of hip-hop, particularly in “Computer On Fire”.

“Word 2 The Nerd” with its two-chord structure starts sounding like a glitched messed-up version of the theme from “Knight Rider” when you start listening to it long enough. “Computer On Fire”, looping a “my computer has just caught on fire!”, is not as nerdy or 8-bit as the title may suggest, nor as urgent-sounding. “Going Nowhere” is the most Luke Vibert-like track of the pack, bringing the squelchiness up a notch.

All three tracks are short and sweet radio-edit-style arrangements, leaving you a neat, quirky and lightweight ten minute listen that’s a neat sampler and shows promise for a longer album, for fans of the funkier and more acid sides of Planet Mu, Warp etc.

Kratos Himself: Remixed

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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May 16 2017
Artist: Kratos Himself
Title: Remixed
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Youngbloods
Kratos Himself gets the remix treatment from ten different remixers, all of them clearly carefully chosen to contribute a sympathetic and distinctive rework into a collection that stands up as equal to the sum of its parts. Each remixer tackles a different track from one of Kratos Himself’s previous two albums, so there’s no duplication and regularly re-appearing elements like you sometimes find on remix albums.

Generally this is downtempo, gently glitchy electronica with casual, almost lazy stepping grooves. Obtuse percussive samples loop over jazzy basslines. The original Rhodes chords are flipped and re-fried in a variety of ways but still form the backbone of a consistent set of tracks.

The vocal tracks are generally the strongest. “Tomorrow’s Sun” reworked by Sam A La Bamalot has a fresh-sounding broken-up trip-hop vibe. Foamek’s slightly conventional downtempo house remix of “Heartless” and Crookram’s “It’s Love” could both open doors to dozens of chillout and lounge compilations.

8-bit stylings make a few appearances, such as on Vorace’s take on “Like Me” where chiptune sounds meet hip-hop nodding swagger. “See What Eyes See” remixed by Jeen Bassa takes that swagger and mellows it out with smooth chords and muted scratches. Also notable is Fishball’s appropriately underwater take on “Float”.

It’s a very consistent and coherent remix album that works as a 47-minute listening album in its own right. While some of the tracks do end up a touch on the ordinary side, the overall result is a very fluid and rich collection of complimentary sounds, the output of a clearly carefully curated compilation.

PRTCL: Scarpyard/Traction ft.Survey

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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May 07 2017
Artist: PRTCL (@)
Title: Scarpyard/Traction ft.Survey
Format: 12"
Label: Notion Audio (@)
Rated: *****
While listening to the first of two amazing rollers included in this release by Notion Audio, you could easily imagine Berlin-based British drum'n'bass producer and dj Joe London, better known as PRTCL (pronounce it as 'protocol'), playing by some scrap metallic objects in an old salvage yard, where kids go to get high, and turn this seemingly useless stuff into a dangerous sonic weapon. Banging metallic hits got wrapped by warm distorted low frequencies and other foggy pulsations, which could you let imagine coming from the lab of a sort of powerful necromancer for wrecked machinery, are going to delight fans of nervously obscure breaks on "Scrapyard". Other two skilled d'n'b producers from Berlin scene, Hardy Schulz and Stephan Albrecht aka Survey, joined Joe's game in the following tune "Traction", a catchy roller propelled by breathtaking accelerations, well-organized fragmented beats, piercing drops of distorted synth-brass and haunting percussive swirls. Neurotech lovers deserve to get sometimes exposed to PRTCL's highly energetic rays and electro-mechanical compression.

Gebrüder Teichmann & Wura Samba: 2 Cities / Berlin - Lagos

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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May 03 2017
Artist: Gebrüder Teichmann & Wura Samba
Title: 2 Cities / Berlin - Lagos
Format: 12"
Label: Noland Tracks (@)
For their own “2 Cities” release the Teichmann brothers have created a subdivision of their own still-fresh Noland label called Noland Tracks, for more club- and dance-minded material. Their first release, their second collaboration with Nigerian percussionist and singer Wura Sumba, is certainly DJ friendly- deep paired-back house beats with African percussive flavours, clean synthy basslines and simple, mix-friendly structures are the order of the day here. Part of a larger “Ten Cities” concept from the Goethe Institute, this is more dancefloor than art concept.

In “Fivefour”, things are at their best when things are kept simple- it’s a fantastic groove, steady and easy to get carried by. When the distorted lead synth starts wandering off into an improvised solo after the six minute mark things go a little wayward and start sounding a little thin. Also, beware a transition so surprising just before the two minute mark that you assume you’ve segued into a different track. The deep, slightly tribal house beat stops dead, we pause, and suddenly we’re into a retro electro environment. The original elements gradually reappear and fuse together, but it’s a drop so abrupt you might assume the DJ made a mistake!

“Transist” features Wura Samba’s vocal for the first time and it works well. The blend of African melodies and house beats is often a winner, and so it is here. Dark, acid basslines rumble under a slightly spaced-out vocal. This is one of those B-side tracks that’s stronger than the A-side.

Final track “Alantere” is mostly instrumental, with snippets of the vocal arriving halfway through. Here the percussion is allowed a couple of breakdowns to go a little wild, an interlude in what’s otherwise quite a moody, slow-stepping synthwave-ish track which has plenty of confidence.

The German - Nigerian collaboration is clearly a winning combination, and well refined. The result is steady but not attention-grabbing.

Prangman: Chamber EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Apr 29 2017
Artist: Prangman
Title: Chamber EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Migration
Rated: *****
I wouldn't say this output by Prangman (real name Dan Meldrum), recently out on NexGen Music sub-label Migration, is a stroke of genius, but its way of melting apparently listenable influences is funny at least. Musically grown in his father's pub in Newcastle upon Tyne, where he used to entertain hosts by djing, you can easily guess the tastes of this guy were orbiting around the grand Uk garage style, that he seems to reprise in this EP. The mellow electronic tubular organ sonorities, inserted after the opening percussive stapling, before the smoothly alluring vocals by Lindsay Murray and over its rising hypnotical refrain, in "Far Away (Haarlem)", are the first clue of such a liking. Similarly the interbreeding of thuds and claps and the bouncing repetition of a male voice inviting to 'get up' could be a cliche of Uk garage sound, but Prangman revamped it by slightly distorted electronic drum buzzing noise in the following "Sonics". My favourite moment of this release is "Kremlin", a tune where those garage influences collide up against a catchy mid-tempo break and some sci-fi synth-driven stabs (bizarrely the moment when Prangman adds a spacey echo to them at the end of the tracks reminded a some relatively electro-break old tune by Phil 'Schizoid Man' Holmberg's forgotten project Schematix), a collision that gets more and more colloidal by means of some nice percussive tricks, that got reprised in the final track "Chamber".

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