Music Reviews



Sex Judas feat. Ricky: Go Down Judas

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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May 18 2018
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Artist: Sex Judas feat. Ricky
Title: Go Down Judas
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Optimo Music
Initial impressions of “Go Down Judas” are reminiscent of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers- cartoon counter-culture heroes accompanied by stoner, laid-back country Americana sounds and low smoke-infused ramblings. But it quickly transpires that this is all just a front, and what’s behind the curtain is a Norwegian-produced funky vocal house album using the comic branding as a novelty theme rather than being truly immersed in it.

So from the second track “The Sorrows Of Young Walter” onwards, what we’ve got here is steady, circa 110bpm lounge house chock quite full of funk-driven synth bass grooves, wahwah guitar, lovely subtle string arrangements, and occasional husky vocal work.

Other influences are sprinkled on top in moderation as well- gentle African-flavoured percussion and vocal noises on “Sidikis Jam”, some lovely late 80’s-style acid and Chicago house style noises on “Candy Darling”, and what I think might be a cheeky Star Trek sample in the squelchy “Let The Power Go”- all of which is slotted into the jigsaw with great care and skill.

After hints of a darker dronier electronica during the intro track, final track “Moving Glaciers” is an extensive atmospheric outro that wraps things up in slightly unusual fashion.

This is high-production-value house music with an almost stereotypical Nordic attention to atmosphere, quality and detail. While it may not have the hook-driven radio hit that would set your heart alight or get onto mainstream radio, if you like your funky house to be of any the finest premium quality and utterly chilled out, take a look beyond the faintly cheesy comic branding and you’ll find a very enjoyable album here.

Moomin: Yesterday's Tomorrows

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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May 18 2018
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Artist: Moomin
Title: Yesterday's Tomorrows
Format: LP
Label: Wolf Music
Moomin’s third album is a collection of eight DJ-friendly tracks spread across two slices of vinyl. For the most part it’s laid-back and stripped-back house music, strolling along in the 120bpm region with simple patterns slowly shifting, rising and falling, jazzy laidback keys, soft and straightforward basslines and gentle beats with quite an organic feel to them. Opener “Daysdays” gives you a reasonable flavour of what to expect.

On the second side, “Shibuya Feelings” follows the same patterns but with the introduction of a much heavier kick that makes things feel much more post-sunset, before “Maybe Tomorrow” places more emphasis on crisp, higher-toned drum loops that bring the jazziness back in force.

In the second half, things start getting a bit more varied and take on a decidedly more retro ‘90s feel. On both sides, more jungle and drum & bass-flavoured tracks are paired up with trip-hoppy counterparts. “Move On God” uses some classic jungle drumloops under super-smooth pads for a lush, quite throwback-minded piece, before “949494” is a neat little slightly hip-hop workout. “Into The Woods” is a pretty sparse bit of jungle/drum & bass which lets the simple subbass shine with some very confident production touches, alongside the Rhodes-style chords that provide the sonic bridge between this and the earlier tracks, before “Fruits” rounds things off in a very smooth, quite Groove Armada-ish fashion.

There’s an almost nostalgic feel to this release in parts, but carried thanks to a lot of production polish and a consistent vision of Moomin’s sound. It’s not going to set dancefloors alright or set your heart ablaze, but it’s got a quite plush flavour that feels somehow quite premium- like sticking your bare feet on a super-soft carpet.

Desert Sound Colony: Lose My Rhythm

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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May 15 2018
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Artist: Desert Sound Colony
Title: Lose My Rhythm
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Snap Crackle & Pop
There’s no danger of losing this rhythm. Three tracks and a remix of crisp, warm house beats with soft acid electro basslines, funk guitar licks and poppy vocal mantras, this is modern house-meets-indie-pop and it works well.

The title track feels like it ought to be heard on a warm beach, while “Suffocation” has a slightly dingier and indoors affair which then leads on to the much heavier “The Blacksmith” that completes a gradual progression away from the dancefloor and into serious home-listening electropop.

Scott Fraser’s remix of the title track (mislabelled accidentally as “Lose Mr Rhythm”) strips away all but tiny snippets of the vocal and concentrates on the acid and bass elements for a neat, well-evolved eight minute workout with a nice progression that brings us full circle.

It’s a solid 12” pack that should appeal to both DJ’s and home listeners.

VV.AA.: Global Surveyor Phase 4

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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May 15 2018
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Global Surveyor Phase 4
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Dominance Electricity
Rated: *****
Nine years after the third volume, "Global Surveyor", the compilation issued by Dominance Electricity is out with the fourth volume/phase and this time is huge! Available as four vinyl records (clear vinyl with poster or black), double CD digipack or digital download, "Global Surveyor Phase 4" contains twentyfour tracks/projects for a total of almost two hours and twenty minutes! It would be impossible to talk about all the tracks but I'd like to start telling that in the last twenty years electro music has been in continuous evolution and the various projects started to mix influences in a new stimulating way and also this compilation isn't focused only on electro funk, but it sums up pretty well what is going on with electro right now. You'll find influences of: i.d.m. (Keen K), detroit electro (Heliopause, Middle Men, Obsolete Robotics), minimal techno (Tekkazula, Wilx, Blake Casimir, Low Orbit Satellite), Kraftwerkish electro (Anthony Rother, Patronen), acid (Hardfloor) just to name some. Also, among the well known names of the genre as Anthony Rother, Visonia, Heliopause (they did only a MLP but they are formed by Aux 88's Keith Tucker and Tommy Hamilton plus Dynamik Bass System's Thomas Werner), Silicon Scally or Hardfloor, we find totally new comers as Rauschenmaschine, Wilx, Tyraell and C*NT. The quality is guaranteed by Matthias M. Weise, the main man behind Dominance Electricity and too bad there isn't a new track by his own project Sbassship included here. There are many tracks that stand out already at the first listening: isn't a case if Heliopause, Middle Men, Kalson, Anthony Rother and Keen K open the compilation, because they already offer a wide example of what we're going to listen to: spacey pads, some menacious vocals, Detroit electro bleeps, complex rhythm patterns, robotic atmospheres and much more. This compilation is a must have and it grows with the listenings. Try it for yourself by checking all the tracks at the label's SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/dominance-electricity/gs4

Greenvision: Rambutan

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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May 13 2018
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Artist: Greenvision
Title: Rambutan
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: ESP Institute
Minimal in some ways but not in others, the three tracks on “Rambutan” are built on understated house grooves with more than a slight late 80’s flavour, but layered up quite thickly with abstract sounds, ethnic tones and ebbing and flowing effects into pieces that have real character and a relaxed, fairly playful attitude.

Lead track “Banana Paradiso” is the most feel-good, with bright chords and plinky noises, though it’s not as cheesy as the title makes it sound. But it’s B2 “The Color Of Maracuja” that’s probably my favourite of the three, with extra use of jazzy slightly Rhodes-style chords playing rolling over the most determined-sounding of the three grooves, the only one with a notable hint of edge.

All three are perfect for gentle afternoon beach dancing, mellow and toe-tapping- it’s a leisurely, Summery 12” with broad appeal.


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