Honestly, Skee Mask is just outrageously good. I’m only three tracks into his latest album Pool which kinda came out of nowhere last week, and I’m already convinced it will be in my top 10 of the year. Very few other producers can touch him in terms of rhythm, creativity and his ability to create unique, engaging and highly emotional musical landscapes. LFO is one of his gentler efforts, beatless and almost devoid of percussion, with the ebb and flow of synth lines driving it forward.
Ilian Tape really is a remarkably consistent label: I don’t think I’ve heard a single thing on there I haven’t really enjoyed. This is taken from Galaxian alias Kas’s new album Like Sunlight Threads – the first LP on the label since the Zenker Brother’s brilliant Cosmic Transmission from last year – which veers wildly between fairly accessible, melodic breaks and terrifying, panic-inducing techno. In The Absence Of Becoming sits very much in the former category, and is unlikely to make my wife ask “What the fuck are you listening to?” with quite the same venom as some of the other tracks on here.
I first heard this on a live set Versalife (aka Conforce) posted a little over a year ago (it’s great – you should listen to it!), and have been thinking about it daily ever since. He really does do this kind of emotional, hypnotic, breaks-driven techno better than pretty much everyone else. Especially Bicep. Ouch! Bet they’re smarting from that one. This is one of the tracks on his new Present Shock EP, which includes three more of a similar ilk. One day clubbing shall return, and I hope this gets played fucking loud every single day when they do.
The most amazing thing about Rising Sun is just how optimistic it makes me feel, given the current state of everything. So in that spirt… it’s not mid January, it’s not lockdown central, we aren’t staring down the barrel of some of the bleakest months of our short and ever-diminishing lives. Instead it’s actually mid summer, the sun’s just creeping up past the horizon, and you’ve just had one of the best night’s out of your entire life with some of your favourite people. One day, perhaps even this year, this will have happened to you. Until then, we have music like this to keep us going.
I heard this on the radio earlier today as the sun was just breaking through the morning haze and it made me feel incredibly calm and happy. It’s from London producer Flaurese’s debut EP which is out now on Circa ’99, and it’s a real delight: warm chords and winding melodies with an almost 8-bit bassline that chugs on throughout before entering throwback rave territory for the final third. Quite the debut.
Special Request’s Spectral Frequency came out last week on R&S, and is very much an EP of two halves. The title track is pretty much what you’d expect from a ‘typical’ Special Request record – taught jungle breaks and vocal stabs – with the second track Inverse Request an interesting experiment in filtering out all the low end: a sketchy rave transmission from another galaxy. It’s the second two tracks where it really comes to life though, and Family Doggo is a warm analog hug of a track, all reverb-heavy hats and hazily shimmering pads, which is exactly what I need right now.
Turtle Funk is taken from the new Patricia (aka Max Ravitz) album Maxyboy: his second full-length outing on Ghostly International following 2017’s Several Shades Of The Same Colour which I liked very much. Like its predecessor it could be loosely described as atmospheric, breaks-driven techno, but while Several Shades…felt restrictive and gloomy, there’s an optimistic bounce about many of the tracks on Maxyboy, not least in the playful acid lines and shimmering pools of Turtle Funk.
Allsides is a joint project of Polish artists Z ^ L ^ X, Gap The Boy and Jakub Dudek, who also appears as a featured artist. I’m In Love… is wonderfully glitchy electronica with some lovely melodies floating behind the crushed drums and percussion, and a bleepy lead synth that holds everything together. It’s the lead track from their new LP Toy Division, which is varied, at times challenging, and definitely worth a listen.
The first track Nathan Micay ever finished was a jungle bootleg of Sufjan Stevens, so with credentials like that his place on this blog was pretty much assured before I’d heard even a bar of his new album The World I’m Going To Hell For. Happily, it’s absolutely brilliant, and A Razor’s Edge Requiem is an early highlight, blending Selected Ambient Works-era Aphex pads over thunderous broken beats and fizzing synth lines, before dissolving into a finale so moving it makes we want to spend the rest of the day listening to it on loop while gazing at little fluffy clouds.
LG_Amb is taken from Italian producer Andea’s debut album for Ilian Tape which explores various different electronic styles, from ambient and dubby techno to more visceral jungle/breakbeat cuts. LG_Amb sits somewhere in the middle of these: what starts as dreamy, shimmering ambient is quickly joined by clattering broken beats and eventually rich, warm pads. It’s really lovely: so lovely in fact that I do wish there had been a few tracks of a similar vibe on the album. There are a few that sound a little overproduced and clinical as a result, whereas this melts out of the speakers, fully formed and organic.