Music Reviews

µ-Ziq: Xtep

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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May 27 2013
Artist: µ-Ziq
Title: Xtep
Format: 12"
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
The frontiline of a legendary generation of producers and musicians who stuffed the IDM slider by many nice and sometimes genial different intuitions is living a moment of upswing over the course of last twelve months, when there has been the resurface from the depths of more or less prolonged silence of notorious artists such Squarepusher ("Ufabulum & Enstrobia"), Autechre ("Exai"), Daft Punk ("Random Access Memories") and more recently Boards Of Canada, whose awaited new album "Tomorrow's Harvest" is upcoming on 10th June; the resurgence of Mike Paradinas' mu-ziq, which deeply influenced British techno scene, is undoubtedly one of the most popular relishes. Even if the nice cover artwork suggests that the oceans Mike dived are full of some bizarre colorants, I could surmise those dissolved pollutants must have some heady active principles and mutagens: there are many clasps to old musical troves on this appetizer, but I have the hunch that many of the above-mentioned musicians sipped from the same spring due to the fact that a certain fondness for 70ies-like pad-synth and some cosmic disco from 80ies has been featured, but together with old-fashioned sonorities, Mike seems to rediscover and evoke juvenile dream state and I could conjecture that the recent musical offspring with his wife Lara Rix-Martin could have foster such a rejuvenation. The dreamy daintiness of a piano which resembles some fluffy 70ies pop melodies, the uplifting arpeggiated funk on a freshet of splashing drums on the initial "XT" plunge into listener's eardrum, before he pour bucketfuls of proto-dance music by means of the lovely "Ritm"n and the gentle raid of cosmic-disco most valiant knights' sonorities on the plumly nostalgic "Pulsar". On the impressive "Monj2", Mister Paradinas let some percussive metallic spheres from his oldest synths collide and float into a vintage cloud of delighting pads, whereas the more clouded 2step of the final "New Bimple" focuses on that limbic haziness which those who loved his mu-zak could easily discern. Really mouthwatering stuff!

Martsman: Shrank/NYCD

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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May 23 2013
Artist: Martsman (@)
Title: Shrank/NYCD
Format: 12"
Label: Pushing Red (@)
Rated: *****
New full-blooded streams of fused silica on Heath Looney's label Pushing Red comes from proficient German producer Martin Heinze aka Martsman, who cajoles bass music lovers with a couple of brilliant tracks by this cookie. The amazing "Shrank" falls into the temptation of a sort of sophistication of 90ies garage-step which spreads over a shaped synth-pad before the percussive pillar begins to grind on subtle sounds and and dry up, while on the flipside the initial thin flurry on a mechanical bombard on "NYCD" evolves into a poisonous headbanging techstep, where Martin injects suctioned square waves, spongy basslines and delayed squeak from a rudimentary theremin and radio bleeps. Another sonic gem from this surprising label where a listening needle is going to get threaded.

Walton: Baby EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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May 23 2013
Artist: Walton (@)
Title: Baby EP
Format: 12"
Label: Hyperdub (@)
Rated: *****
This appetizer by Manchester-based producer Sam Walton is going to mouthwater the eardrums of many followers of the renowned Hyperdub label and its stable of beat-bucking nags and colts with a penchant for unusual compositional logic, as usual. It precedes the already announced release of his very first album "Beyond" and sets the stage by a coulple of amazing tracks: "Baby" has been built around an R'n'B acappella and bumping crackles of kick and snare drums, which sounds like enliven a proper construction site or supposedly a joiner's workshop as suggested by the tapping jam of noises of engines, hacksaws, alembics, gearwheels and so on, as if Walton discovered a "workbench" dimension and an inner savage order for R'n'b. After this bizarre (but really amazing) declension, which comes with an instrumental version, "Can't You See" increases salivation and appetite by hanging a billowing pad-synth over goading twists of bumping basses, dry snares and whirling 8-bits whetstones. Even if it's a strictly limited appetizer, "Baby" is a very efficacious teaser and a proper exhortation to move beyond.

Displacer: Curse Of The Black Lotus

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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May 22 2013
Artist: Displacer
Title: Curse Of The Black Lotus
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Crime League (@)
Rated: *****
All those ones who remembers the first steps by Canadian musician Michael Morton aka Displacer on M-Tronic maybe will discern that his futuristic touch, which previously embellished ambient and downtempo-oriented stuff, has not perished even within the beat-thickening amazing muddle he flaunts on this tidbit, which comes on his own resurrected imprint Crime League. In spite of the solid rhythmical mould, which could remind some Beefcake's tunes or Gridlock's geometries by means of its mindblowing oscillations between IDM, breakbeat, drum'n'bass and analogue greasy sonorities, the four tracks and the remix on "The Curse Of The Black Lotus" exude whispering hues of the primordial sonic approach, which manages to carpet sounds with a charming air of mistery and a touch of electronic vintage: for instance, the whirling swishes of "Black Sun, Black Moon" starts and and develops around an hypnotic buzz which could recall the one Underworld widely used on some old tracks such as "Rez" or "Cow Girl" over a breakbeat carburetor, which could evoke some old stuff by Prodigy, the initial ignition on "Black Lotus" could be easily mixed both with some borderline tune by Proem and funked-up sci-fi breakbeat which some djs used to play 10-12 years ago and the scrampling airborne smoothness of Burned Mix of "RZLA" could activate some listener's aural memories related to some legendary moments of "space-odissey" techno age (Cyrus, Two Lone Swordsmen, CJ Bolland or Kevin Saunderson), but the casting of fused silica, post-industrial contrivance and "orchestral" charred coats by Displacer glow each track in a very charming way. It seems that Displacer is going to put a spell (or maybe a curse which will not easily get disabled) on a somehow groping scene.

Mantra: Many Worlds (The Crystal Issue Cycle 3)

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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May 15 2013
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Artist: Mantra
Title: Many Worlds (The Crystal Issue Cycle 3)
Format: 12"
Label: The Crystal Issue
Rated: *****
Solar One Music is an hectic label that is producing quality music and is always in evolution. With The Crystal Issue sub-label, they deliver music focused on Acid/Chicago/Detroit/Techno/House, genres which deeply influenced Robert and Nico, the two label's bosses. The releases will be issued only on one sided colored 12" in limited run'¦ no digital files available. The first release of the series is by Mantra, project of a guy called Craig Stainton, who is also active with the Acid Phreex, Craig Stainton, Monofonix, Myriadd monikers. He has at his active an LP ("After Dark") and three EPs on Bunker Records as well as another EP released the last year on Abstract Acid. Mantra's is pure acid techno with tiny house influences where the classic TB-303 and TR-606/808/909 sounds are used to create a hypnotic loop where sampled vocals, sparse deep bass lines and some synth effects. On this first release presented on orange vinyl as opening track we find "Beat That House", a tune characterized by an house bass line that is joined by TB-303 on the pauses, just to start again with the "mantra". "Many Worlds" follows and this is focused on TB-303 sounds, drum machine blasts, tiny distorted synth reverbs and vocal samples scratches. Trancey, obsessive and dancey, these tunes are two of the best produced by Mantra. If you are into acid or techno, check this out!

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