He left it late, but for the second year in a row Traumprinz comes through with December music: 16 new, original tracks over the course of a 90 minute set. I already know that this will be one of the pieces of music I return to next year. Thumping, emotional ambient-leaning techno from the undisputed master.
The opening track on Mall Grab’s new album What I Breathe, Hand In Hand Through Wonderland is exactly the kind of broken beat, melodic, melancholy stuff I want from him, and while arguably the album doesn’t quite hit these heights again, it’s still an enjoyable listen, despite what Pitchfork’s remarkably sniffy review might say. On the other hand, I still don’t think he’s done anything that competes with the sublime gloom of 2015’s Guap. So maybe I’m not to be trusted either.
Barker is someone I wish released more music, as pretty much everything he does put out is fucking incredible. Since 2018’s groundbreakingly brilliant Debiasing EP he’s been ploughing a particularly rich furrow of (nearly) beatless atmospheric techno, now taking on a remix of techno royalty Luke Slater under his Planetary Assault Systems alias. Slowing the tempo and erasing all but the tiniest hint of a kick drum, Barker’s version is meditative, warm and essential.
Taken from her new album Baby, We’re Ascending which is out today, Pigeon Baron is an emotional banger of ridiculously impressive quality and intensity, and the thought of being three beans deep while listening to this somewhere in the depths of Block 9 next month is making me so excited I can barely sit still.
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.
Swedish techno duo SHXCXCHCXSH released their latest album Kongestion earlier this month, and it’s mostly brutal, terrifying listen: ominous and unforgiving, but also really, really good. Stio is the most ‘chilled’ track on there, but only because it’s devoid of the punishing drums employed elsewhere. It’s still deeply unsettling, but with just the merest hint of sunlight peeking through the gloom. I mean, just look at that photo of them. These guys are absolutely not fucking about.
Taken from the the debut solo EP from Texan electro producer Terrestrial Access Network, Endless Dunes is exactly the kind of contemplative, broken-beat electronic music I completely lose my shit over, especially when there are a few gentle acid flourishes thrown in for good measure. Only gentle mind: I want to be soothed, not challenged. Inspired by the artist’s “shifting and hectic nomadic existence around the rattling expanse of the United States”, it’s out now and comes packaged with a remix from TPW favourite Versalife which is also well worth checking out.
Ilian Tape really are in a league of their own. Regardless of which particular branch of electronic music they’re currently championing – usually several simultaneously – it’s pretty much guaranteed to be brilliant, and Jake Muir’s new album Mana is no exception. Tonic – the lead track – is ambient techno at its finest, beatless save a subterranean kick that echoes, ominously, in the background, grounding what is otherwise a freewheeling soundscape of restlessly twitching synths and shimmering celestial pads.
EDIT: Jake just pointed out to me that the entire album is actually composed of samples, without a synth in sight. Shows how attuned my ear is to electronic music after nearly four decades obsessive listening.
Dozzy! Dozza! The Big Doz! Everyone’s favourite Italian polyrhythmic techno don returns to Tresor Records with a four track EP 124 which includes this headscramblingly relentless chugger. “Down the rabbit hole we go!!” I’d probably say if I were an ageing music PR with a fairly limited vocabulary and not enough time to come up with something more original. Oh wait…
It’s been so long that I’ve been to anything even remotely resembling a rave I can’t speak with anything like authority about them any more. But also, imagine: the overwhelming, Biblical euphoria of hearing this drop towards the end of an absolutely banging, take-no-prisoners techno set – Rødhåd, or whoever the kids are listening to these days – during which you stomped so hard you thought your knees might snap like dry little twigs.
Jesus christ I miss pingers.