Agenda 2021 showcases the talent of the EevoNext label with its diverse range of sounds spanning elegant, deep, techno, ambient and house. Built on the foundations of Eevo Lute Muzique the 13 tracks here include newcomers Monomood and Nadia Struiwigh, renowned artists with a Detroit style such as Terrace, The Moderator, Stephen Brown, Justin Berkovi, Colin McNeil and TJ Kong, as well as Art Bleek and Dan Grain who have a background in composing for TV and movies.
Lee J Malcolm is a member of post rock band Vessels, but on the side he also produces his own electronic music. Last summer he released debut Folded Spaces, an album geared towards the dancefloor that was a blend of styles. Now he’s turned his attentions to a more abstract electronic sound as Terrestrial, aiming to give listeners something to nod their heads as they are taken to another planet.
Vitalic’s third studio album sees the electro partystarter team up with a host of guest vocalists to expand his sound beyond the driving grittiness for which he has become known. His embracing of diversity with nods to disco, bassline and stripped-back electronics results in a more varied offering to Flashmob and more akin to debut OK Cowboy.
There is a tendency amongst those honored with the curation of a Fabriclive mix to eschew current trends in favor of reiterating their appreciation of the old school. They are, perhaps, wary of the fact that the eyes of the old guard are fixed firmly upon them and that homage is expected, not in the form of inclusion of certain tracks, but a garage-centric vibe is near ubiquitous on so many Fabriclive releases.
As the sun sets on another Ibiza season and the overplayed anthems start to become a memory, Italian duo System of Survival offer a mellow alternative with their debut album Needle and Thread. Pietro ‘Bingo’ De Lisi’s soul and funk background blends nicely with Alex Carpetieri’s roots in Detroit and Chicago techno for a baleric house offering that weaves into your consciousness and brings a warm smile to your face.
Robert Hood moves on from the sci-fi techno of his Omega Man inspired albums by continuing the futuristic minimal on a project started in 1995. For the third volume of Motor: Nighttime World he takes his starting point from another film, Julien Temple’s documentary Requiem For Detroit? which tells of the decay and industrial collapse of America’s fourth largest city. Hood therefore turns his attentions to examining both the decline of Detroit’s motor history and the hope through its the techno stylings which made the city famous in music circles. There’s much to admire on this considered Hood offering which adds an emotional pull to his minimal stylings.
The scatterbrain music of Otto Von Schirach is probably largely down to his mongrel nature. His origins are half Cuban, half German but he lives in Miami – quite a range of influences reflected in a schizoprenic album of madcap electronica. A new signing to Modeselektor’s Monkey Town Records, he seems to be in a restless state with Supermeng, leaping from genre to genre and creating a slapdash effort to be admired more for its outlandish style than musical content.
More commonly known as Ophidian, Conrad Hoyer’s new alter ego Meander takes inspiration from the godfather of breakcore Venetian Snares to produce an atmospheric take on the usually brutal beat genre. That’s not to say he’s done away with the abrasive kick drums and thunderous bass – both are still very much intact – but their sonic blows are softened by a calming buzz he wraps his tune up in.
Electro duo Modeselektor love to spice up their productions by keeping their sound fresh and varied – even across an album they will shift from one style to another seemingly on a whim. For the second Modeselektion compilation album they move away from warm, welcoming tunes to a darker, more experimental outlook with an impressive array of artists. Their exclusive, unreleased tracks make up the compilation, though their dark tints leave little room for the enlightenment of innovation.
Much is expected of any DJ if they manage to top a major poll of the best in their field, and none more so than Jamie Jones who did just that at the end of 2011. Becoming Resident Advisor’s DJ of the year has led to increased scrutiny of the young Welshman’s work, so what better time than now for a retrospective of his big tunes of the last five years. They are all major contributions to house which have helped shaped his ascent to the top which carry merits heard individually but don’t gel so well collected together.
Seattle-based multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Jherek Bischoff has built up his talents by performing in numerous acts. Parenthetical Girls, Xiu Xiu, Degenerate Art Ensemble, The Dead Science, Amanda Palmer and The Wordless Music Orchestra have benefited from his largely self-taught talents, entrenching an ability to collaborate that shines through on his own album which has a host of guests willing to blend their stylings with his uniquely ethereal sound.
Jasper, Jimbo and Jim make up electro/house trio Million Way – a combination of drums, bass and machinery that forms the foundation for a dancefloor-friendly band. For the first part of their second EP they bring more of their charming tunes with guest vocals from Mr.JTop and Conrad the Soundral. Somehow these guys have managed to capture the sound of happiness.
Altanta’s Distal makes his debut on Tectonic Recordings with Civilisation which is steeped in the label’s signature future dubstep stylings. It’s no wonder either: Distal was inspired by head honcho Pinch’s own “Punisher” which led to his passion for music production. The resulting Civilisation is an accomplished brainchild which takes up the Tectonic stance of keeping well back from the now tired commerical dubstep scene and showcases the potential that is largely uncharted.
Frank Wiedemann and Kristian Beyer are celebrating 10 years of collaborating as duo Âme, and this collection of exclusive remixes seems a fitting way for the house act to provide a showcase of their sounds as stands in 2012. Their diversely-influenced house sounds have been touched by jazz, funk, soul and Detroit techno, heard the world over. Âme Live offers a retrospective of their work, but given a new twist of being freshly remixed. There’s early records on Sonar Kollektiv, later works on Innervisions and unreleased material in a continuous mix that captures their dynamic club sets.
Lone came of age with his first release for seminal dance music label R & S Records. The Manchester producer who confirmed his reinvention of styles from to a blend of 1990s old skool rave and forward-thiking electronic with Coreshine Voodoo, now develops his style on Galaxy Garden. His refreshed ethereal sound with layer-upon layer-of intertwining bleeps and beats make for melodic bliss or inventive dancefloor fillers.
The artist often dubbed the Legendary Godmother of Japanese Electronica Coppe’ has teamed up with Georgian producer and filmmaker Nikakoi (WMF Records, Laboratory Instinct) for her latest album – her 14th in a career spanning 17 years. The latest entry in her remarkable body of work is also given a special release in the form of a limited edition, dual format boxset named Coppe’ In A Bloc – the CD version packaged with a Lego-shaped USB memory stick with three hours of audio and video as a treat for fans.
Lazer Sword’s first release on Modeselektor’s label Monkeytown echoes their bosses’ varied big beat electro stylings with a nod to hip hop. Dou Antaeus Roy (aka Lando Kal) and Bryant Rutledge (aka Low Limit) may have moved on from living together in San Francisco to relocate to Berlin and Los Angeles respectively, but they continue to produce music together via online collaboration and adaptation to differing timezones. Perhaps that is why the resulting album – Memory – has such disparate tunes. It’s no bad thing as their influences, while experimental at times, still pack a mighty punch or pull you into their deep grooves.
The deep house and techno soundscapes of Claro Intelecto have not been given a full length release since 2008’s Metanarrative, his second album that is held in high regard. The Mancunian has links to old skool rave having completed a sound recording course at Spirit Studios where 808 State created their 90 album, but he’s embarked on finding a more soulful, measured sound which soothes and excites in equal measure. It’s an inviting and warm LP which beckons you in, then engulfs you with its subtle intricacies.
Eli Goldstein AKA Elyte and Charles Levine AKA Cnyce are Soul Clap, and their EFUNK album aims to represent all their musical exposure over the years – particularly their 1990s pop sensibilities . Born in Boston, USA, they chose Miami to create their retrospective album that looks to the future having already worked with DJ Harvey, Little Dragon, Metronomy and Robert Owens. Using members of the Wolf + Lamb family to add their zest to the productions, the result is an inventive range of tunes, though it skirts around finding a solid groove.
Locking yourself away from the world in a barn won’t win you many friends but, if you’re a member of Norfolk instrumentalist band Feorm, you will be able to emerge back into civilisation having captured your inner spirit. That is what this free-thinking act have achieved with their eponymous debut which brings together their love of post rock, post punk, 60s Birtish psychedelia and krautrock into a largley improvised album that evolved from jamming in a barn.
The Finnish producer known only as Ukkonen is a man of mystery who, despite a background in classical composition and no interest in dance music, found his output supported by esteemed DJs such as Agoria, Ame, Colin Dale and Norman Nodge. He went on to remix for Patten and produced mixes that were more reinventions of classic Detroit techno than DJ sets. Now he’s produced debut album The Isolated Rhythms of… which disregards any kind of house or techno conventions in favour of his own unique style. The result is five tracks: two coming in at nearly 10 minutes and three 16-minute marvels.
All in all, the release is pretty good. There are no blow-your-brains-out-holy-shit jams but its free so I won’t complain. OWSLA is definitely the place to be for American electro/dubstep and this release showcases the electro side of things more prominently. It is great to get a look at some of the lesser known artists on the roster and see the current state-of-things.
AU are Portland, Oregon duo Luke Wyland and Dana Valatka who have moved to The Leaf Label for their third album release as they attempt to capture the energy and vibrancy of their live shows in their recordings. Wyland developed AU into a band due to touring needs, bringing drummer Valatka on board full time for Both Lights to create a stripped-back sound that is just as powerful as his densely-layered previous release Verbs.
MOTOR duo Bryan Black and Oly Grasset have turned their back on techno after three albums to produce an vocal-led electro filled with impressive guest stars. Martin L. Gore (Depeche Mode), Gary Numan, Billie Ray Martin (S’Express, Electribe 101) and Motown’s Reni Lane get in on the fizzing synth ride that rips through some 4/4 action and has a deliciously sleazy underbelly.
Evokateur is made up of composer Hector and songwirter/lyricist Sarah Villaraus, a fine pairing who echo the electro-pop of Miss Kittin and The Hacker, but with a more glistening, heartfelt rendering of the genre. The four-track EP follows up last year’s single “Wolf Girl”, which was mixed by Grammy Award winner Dom Morley (Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black) and remixed by electro legend Gary Numan, and shows the London duo are building on strong foundations to create dreamy, melancholic tunes.