Carve + Gaze
You know how there are dudes that constantly chase a sound and others who are always the ones being chased? Well Wen has always been one of the latter; his knack for bleak monochrome structures and vocal tics was out on a limb when he first appeared, and this bizzare four-track turn on Big Dada proves handsomely that he’s operating on some extra level of synthesis. Or he’s been watching that new Bladerunner trailer for weeks...
There’s always something so urgent about the way Cosmin programmes his drum work. It’s probably just the tempo they ride on but his four-fours always makes me feel a little bit anxious, like that first bubble in your stomach after you’ve drank a coffee that's turning on you. His sound palette on ‘Afterburn’ only helps bolster the feeling that the walls are closing in but on ‘Electra’ it’s more like the whole roof is slowly crumbling.
'Ambivert Tools Vol. 2'
As the name suggests, this is part two in Lone’s latest glut of dancefloor-focused four-four material for R&S and it delivers those trademark melodic flourishes that have always made his music so instantly recognisable. But the peach of the 12” is ‘Looking Glass’, a cut that’s basically just heavy pounding drum lines until the breakdown. After the drop it’s punishingly nagging, that obtuse arpeggio just keeps going, fumbling round for the door to your subconscious.
I’m a champion, yeah, and the reason I keep looking forward to and writing so positively about what 20/20 LDN are doing is because I’ve waited for so long for a group of independent dudes to do big, loud, slanted hip-hop with a European twist PROPERLY. This four tracker from the Paint duo takes extra care in proving my point with their cut ‘Beast Mode’ sounding like a saturation muffled Jameszoo. Come at me, please.
In Alanis Morissette's ‘90s suburbia it would indeed be pretty ironic that Konx-om-Pax’s latest EP is called ‘Refresher’ because I needed to go and remind myself of the conceptual sound design of his earlier work after I heard ‘Cascade’. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot to love in the earworm of it, it’s just that I wasn’t expecting this good-time, fist-pumping, Lone-esque colourful dancefloor bomb. But I’ve welcomed it into my life with arms aloft.
'Swing For The Fences'
Is calling someone a ‘solid proposition’ a bit of a backhanded compliment these days? Have I gone so far wrong that I’m now coming back around to reassess my own reliability? Either way Hodge is a safe pair of hands when it comes to system-friendly techno music that isn’t just an echoey stomp on every beat of the bar. His new three track EP for Hemlock is oddly blunted (‘Medway’), weirdly smiley (‘Aomame’) and all rather jacking (‘Swing…’).
'The Recluse (Spoke’s Orchestral Mix)'
I know that the review pages of a dance music magazine might not be the place you’d think you’d come to find someone asking some of life’s more sweeping questions, but every now and then artists and labels do something like this: re-scoring what is essentially an 8-bit grime tune with a soft-synth orchestra. And you just think, bro, what’s the fucking point? Like in all of it? Shouldn’t every life be this widescreen, always?
Why The Eye?
'Why The Eye?'
Angstrom & Plynt
Making tracks using homemade instruments is always going to give you a very different pool of sounds to work with, and alternating your cuts between rhythmic tracks and nutty interludes with triangles for names is going to make you feel pretty alien — so it’s a wonder that at points Why The Eye? sound kinda normal for a Thursday in my house. ‘Free Gluten’ is a tropicalia roller and ‘Plastique’ feels like bruised funk jam got hyper-saturated.