Despite their being an absolute ton of great new music out today, I’m choosing to share this track from 2020 as I’ve only just heard it and its blowing my tiny little mind. This is pretty much how I want all electronic music to sound: moody, atmospheric, sparse, beautiful. And yes, I have been listening to his mixes all day, thanks for checking.
Late last month Skee Mask quietly popped out two EPs as part of Ilian Tape’s ISS series, one of which comprises four tracks of fiercely abrasive techno and the other – from which MDP93 is taken – eight tracks of gorgeous, beatless, drifting ambient: perhaps the most relaxing collection of music he’s ever put his name to. Honestly, if you’re feeling even mildly stressed or anxious – or even if you’re not – please put this on and go and look at the sky for a bit.
It’s hard to imagine a world in which a track so gloriously unassuming as Röyksop’s Eple could achieve such ubiquity, but for what felt like the entire first half of the 2000s I reckon I heard it every day. So did you. And even if you can’t immediately call to mind how it goes, listen to it for five seconds and you’ll immediately be transported back to a simpler, happier time when we were all basking in the glow of a post-2YK realisation that all the computers didn’t in fact collapse, and that everything was just going to be just fine from now on.
Anyway, I don’t think I’ve thought about Röyksop for a good 15 years now, but last week they put out a new album and some of it is really lovely. Like this – the penultimate track on Profound Mysteries – which seems tailor-made for the next time Traumprinz makes one of his Very Poignant Mixes.
More dope beats from the other realm courtesy of the queen of electronic witchery. If you’re familiar with DJ Sabrina’s previous work, this follows in pretty much the same vein: 90s-heavy samples blended with bright, open-hearted production. An out-and-out nostalgia-fest, in other words that will make you yearn for the days when aspect ratios were square and TV audiences pissed themselves laughing at literally everything.
I really liked Tess Roby’s 2018 album Beacon – especially the song Plasticine Hills – a perfect balance of haunting synths and her extraordinary vocal – so the release of her new LP Ideas of Space last week was very welcome. Century is the opening track and immediately draws you into her intimate, fragile world, with glistening chords and hushed percussion providing the ideal framework for her wonderful voice to work its magic.
Andrew Ostler, you had me at “unashamedly nostalgic for the polyrhythms of 70s Berlin”. One of two extended pieces from his new album, Ostler’s penchant for modular synthesis is expressed across a 20 minute recording that evokes not only the electronic polyrhythms of acts like Tangerine Dream, but also the epic prog-rock of Pink Floyd. No mean feat, but it’s handled here with both skill and subtlety.
Unlike pretty much every other person in the world, I didn’t really enjoy Loraine James’s 2021 album Reflections very much. It’s obviously really good, I just found it a bit jarring and after a few time thinking “everyone loves this, so you should too!” kinda just stopped trying. It felt too much like hard work, which absolutely does not apply to her new album recorded as Whatever the Weather, which seems tailor-made for me: all the rough corners of Reflection sanded down to a soft sheen, and the machine-driven claustrophobia replaced by hazily shimmering vistas. Opener 25°C is about as calming as music gets, and that’s what I need in my life right now.
Fantazia came out on the brilliantly-named album Weaponised Serenity around six months ago, but aside from this piece from A Strangely Isolated Place I can’t find any coverage for it at all. Recorded by Dennis Huddleston under his 36 alias for the 9128.live label – which asks artists to push their creative boundaries by presenting new and experimental approaches to music creation – Weaponised Serenity is a joyous journey through Huddleston’s rave heritage, exploring both the deeply meditative qualities and drug-fulled hedonism of the rave, often within a single track.
Lush, broken beat electronics for you today courtesy of California-based Tomu DJ, who has a real knack for squeezing a huge amount of emotion out of whatever machineware she uses to make music. If you missed it last year her debut album FEMINISTA is well worth checking out and features many tracks of the same tone and structure that makes Morning Groove such a breezy delight, albeit mixed with some far darker more disquieting introspections.
This came out close to a year ago as one of the tracks on Mabe Fratti’s album Será que ahora podremos entendernos, however it’s one of the most extraordinary pieces of music I’ve heard for a while so wanted to bring it to as many people’s attention as possible. The Guatemalan musician combines raging synths and layered feedback with her incredible mastery of the cello to create a singular sound that ranges from the super-chilled meditations of track like Mil Formas de Decirlo to the almost unbearable tension of Aire. Honestly, I don’t know how I missed this when it came out, but I’m very glad I’ve found it now.