Posted on August 1, 2017
Music In July, The Month Gone By
First up, big love to the readers. Was playing a show in Kolkata a couple of weeks ago and two dudes showed up just to say they read the blog and wait patiently for updates. I guess I might as well keep going right?
Pan Daijing – Lack
Pan Daijing’s full-length debut cuts deep with the kind of subversive electro-histrionics guaranteed to ward away lovers of easily-digestible computermusic fare. It’s a beautiful, impactful record, one that you know took her a lot of time to put together, and also the kind that lingers in your mind long after a listen. S/O to Rashad Becker for an incredible job on the boards making the whole release sound otherworldly.
Bola – D.E.G
Incredible, incredible, incredible release from Bola after almost a decade. One for the heads. I’d say ‘Evensong’ is one of my favorites on the record right now, but that probably has to do with my mood as I’m writing this. Every other track seems to grow on me more with each subsequent listen. Out on Skam and fatter on wax.
Earthen Sea – An Act Of Love
Half ambient-half dubtechno release with both styles balancing each other out expertly. The techno bits are essentially utilitarian – not something I would play out, but I’m a sucker for contrasts and you’ll rarely find something so thematically sound that fuses the two genres.
Emptyset – Borders
An album’s worth of low freq delights, all mostly under the 3-minute mark and treats for DJs who hate the rules. Another cracker of a release from the Bristol duo.
Caterina Barbieri – Patterns Of Consciousness
Not quite like me to spend $40 on a new record but I’ve been lapping this up since the first wind of its release and I’ve had the chance to play it out on a recent Mindcast for Mindwaves-music in Berlin and often during the first hour or so of longer DJ sets. Admittedly, I’m a bit obsessed for it’s some of the finest work I’ve ever come across in synthesizer music. Just listen to all of it top-down, and if you don’t dig it you might as well stop reading this blog.
Alessandro Cortini and Merzbow – Alessandro Cortini and Merzbow
Juicing the legendary EMS Synthi, here’s a collaboration between two established legends that you could argue sees Alessandro taking a bigger leap into Merzbow’s world of dissonance rather than Merzbow going more melodic. That said, major props to Alessandro for sort of anchoring the boat before it hits the choppiest of waters. Then again, you can’t help but imagine what a full-blown freak-out the two would have conjured up if they’d have approached this record with more than just the Synthi as the centrepiece. I, for one, would take the leap blindfolded. Very, very satisfying nonetheless for fans of love and noise. Out only on wax AFAIK.
Jana Rush – Pariah
The future of footwork will no doubt see more experiments in rhythm, and often enough, it’ll see a leap into the delightfully unknown (see: Jlin). However, there’s plenty of reason to believe much of it’ll remain fun with an allegiance to the dance floor. Jana Rush’s first release in more than a decade on Dance Mania arrives at a time when footwork is having a bit of a resurgence and its reach being felt as far as even India. Pariah makes for an expressive and wildly fun listen from top to bottom not to mention a DJ’s delight.
Yair Elazar Glotman & Mats Erlandsson – Negative Chambers
Awe-inspiring sound design and instrumentation through and through. Thank you, Internet, for one of the best listens of the year. Best consumed (like everything else) on decent cans or speakers. Even better with SubPac if you want to close your eyes and imagine this being played live in concert.
Wolf Eyes – Undertow
A bit annoyed to know I slept on a new Wolf Eyes record from earlier on in the year, but better late than never. There’s a lot to love here from the prolific Detroit noise trio, from the draining, emotional appeal of ‘Thirteen’ to the idiosyncratic vocals of the title track and much in between. Of course Aaron hasn’t been part of the picture for some years but that’s done little to dim their shine. Purists can fuck off please.
Damien Dubrovnik – Great Many Arrows
It was at a Demdike Stare concert a couple of months ago in LA where I was introduced to the genius of Danish power electronics duo Damien Dubrovnik. Waiting in the wrong line for the show for about twenty minutes in the rain begat a conversation with a Varg fan who “just had to” play me some of DD’s past work through her Apple earpods. Thank you lady whose name I’ve forgotten. Great Many Arrows is a stupendous piece of work out on the increasingly prolific Posh Isolation in Denmark. Obviously not for fans who just like saying “power electronics” ’cause it’s an admittedly cool thing to name. Listen in one go, then buy it. It’ll age beautifully among your collection of music only you dig.
Cornelius – Mellow Waves
Cornelius album releases are grand affairs and the hype around Mellow Waves was justifiably no less. It did help that the initial song releases were gorgeous pieces of work that kept listeners pining, and boy did Cornelius NOT disappoint. Accomplished work in the highest sense of that word that effortlessly blurs the lines between organic, electronic, acoustic, electric, downtempo and funky and gives new meaning altogether to pop music in 2017. Easily in the year’s top 10. P.S. My obsession with Mellow Waves is dangerous so please tread carefully.
Laurel Halo – Dust
Laurel’s third outing on Hyperdub is easily her most accomplished. There’s stuff in here to last the end of the year and I know I’ll be banging it out come December. ‘Syzygy’, ‘Jelly’, ‘Moontalk’, ‘Who Won’ are all strong contenders for favorites, but it’s the equally great ‘Sun To Solar’ that has a convenient YouTube link. Buy it or forever hold your peace.
Strange U – #LP4080
Between the various GxFR releaess and this Strange U record, you’ve probably got my favorite hip-hop music of 2017. Nothing else even threatens to come close.
Royce Da 5’9” – Bar Exam
If you like rap music for the bars and don’t believe in the hype, you can’t deny Royce is one of the greatest to have ever stepped up to a mic. Bar Exam is yet another masterclass, the kind that makes most rap look piss weak in comparison. Waiting impatiently for the Book of Ryan.