MAGIC MIX

synth-pop . alt-R&B . cold wave . industrial

WEEK STARTING 27 May

Genre pick of the week Cover of Transmission by Death In Vegas.
“Fantastic album…breathtaking intensity” (Roman Flügel)
“Hard yet soft, a pure sex trip” (Jonnie Wilkes, Optimo)
“Superb. It's a proper listening experience from start to finish!” (Trevor Jackson)

Death In Vegas return with 'Transmission', the sixth release from the project begun by Richard Fearless nearly two decades ago, and the first new album since 'Trans-Love Energies' in 2011.

United over a love of Throbbing Gristle and Chris and Cosey, Fearless partners with artist and writer Sasha Grey, whose lyrics resonate across the soundscape of visceral techno and unsettling, discordant drones, weaving into a state of dreamlike euphoria.

Field recordings of the constant drone of air traffic and incessant noise from the steel factory opposite Fearless’ Metal Box studio, as well as the Ballardian landscape in which it’s set, all exert their pull on the record, searching for light in the dark.


FORMAT INFORMATION

Includes MP3 Download Code.

Berlin-based imprint Disco Halal's latest offering comes from Nadav Spiegel, better known as Autarkic, a main man on the Israeli cold-wave scene. As with his previous release on Golf Channel ('Hello To Mrs Blank'), Autarkic revives the post-punk electronic dark wave / minimal wave sound, but this time we're treated to more of a Middle Eastern influence. In fact 'Can You Pass The Knife?' is about the struggle of being stuck in a gap between longing for his homeland, and what it could have been like, and a heavy criticism on what it has actually become.

Opener 'Asi Keta Ga' is a moody electro shuffler with Middle Eastern pipes, dub efx and an urgent, breathy vocal, all saturated with echo. 'Solo Gun' hisses with drum machine percussion before getting in a mid-tempo house groove - perfect for Weatherall and Johnston I reckon. 'Watch Out' is a killer disco-not-disco number in a post-punk style, heading hand-in-hand to the dancefloor with 'Fire In My Heart'. Over on side B 'The Misorientation Of Autrakic' offers more ALFOS tempos, with minaret style wailing, and a vocal from Spiegel, as does the dubbed-out drifter 'UFO (Space Version)'. Lastly 'Tender Lies' sounds tailor-made for Blitz kidz and new romantic dancing.

Following on from the success of her critically acclaimed ‘Incitation’ EP, Olga Bell is back with new album ‘Tempo’, released via One Little Indian Records.

“Grand compositional ambitions and a dynamic voice... the arty, adventurous edge of pop” - The New York Times

“For those uninitiated, Bell’s work lies somewhere between an industrial night at Berghain and a cyborg performing at Carnegie Hall.” - Dummy

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Encompassing aspects of outsider-pop, synthwave and electronic soul, 'Tempo' confounds expectations of the singer songwriter. Quirky off-kilter rhythms and textures permeate the whole endeavour , rapidly switching from acid pulse-wave stabs to glitched out snares and clave hits. Like a medley of all the electronic tropes of the last 20 years, but distilled into a cohesive and concise representation of modern electronic music culture. This is a capable and sparkling outing, and at no point feels too far from comfort. Like hopping between ten different parties of ten different varieties, each playing different music, and loving each and every minute.

FORMAT INFORMATION

Deluxe LP Info: Deluxe edition includes art prints.

She was a composer who wrote scores with geometric shapes, a poet who became a pioneer of early electronic music. Joanna Brouk’s little-known body of work exists at the nexus between ambient, new age, drone, and classical minimalism - stark in its simplicity, lush in its expanse. Studying under Robert Ashley and Terry Riley at the fabled Mills College Center For Contemporary Music before graduating into the margins of the 70s bay area new music scene, Ms. Brouk blazed her own trail well outside of the musical establishment to create uncompromising electronic and acoustic work of sleek beauty and primal power. Describing herself as less a composer than a channel, she took her cues from the frequencies of the natural world and the talents of collaborators like Maggi Payne and Bill Maraldo. Hearing Music collects for the first time the deepest cuts from her beguiling and rare cassette releases and her archive of previously unreleased recordings.

“I realized that, in many instances, it didn’t matter what you said, it mattered how you said it: the tone of the voice, the rhythm, the sound.... Because sound has an incredible effect on other people, it can make them dance, put them into trances, it can control emotions by a certain pitch, a certain depth.” – Joanna Brouk


In 2012, with only one single (‘Sleepless’) and one remix (Hermitude’s ‘Hyperparadise’) to his name, a young beatmaker called Flume was given an afternoon slot at Splendour In The Grass. Flash forward four years and Flume is back - this time as a multi-platinum selling, ARIA award-winning, sought-after collaborator (Lorde, Disclosure, Chet Faker, Vince Staples) and internationally recognised producer.

A master of crafting complex, intelligent, original productions, 2016 sees Flume return to the spotlight with the muchanticipated ‘Skin’ album, via Transgressive Records.

‘Skin’ features such global superstars as Beck, Vic Mensa and the UK’s own AlunaGeorge.

Lead track ‘Never Be Like You’ (featuring Kai) roared to the top of the Australian singles charts and has gone on to become a genuine global hit.

FORMAT INFORMATION

2xLP Info: Double LP is pressed on transparent vinyl and includes a digital download code.

Brighton-based Fujiya & Miyagi have now been making expansive, experimental and multifaceted electronic-driven music for over fifteen years.

As an outfit they have been as successful in their investigations into bleep as they have elongated Krautrock wig outs, and creating breathy electro pop as fiercely as they do post-punk indebted scratchy dance. 'EP1' feels like an amalgamation of all of these factors, condensed succinctly into four tracks, the first of three planned EPs which will accumulate in a new album in early 2017.

Comes in triple gatefold sleeve to house EPs 2 & 3.

Gold Panda

Good Luck And Do Your Best - City Slang Bonus Disc Edition

'Good Luck And Do Your Best' was initially planned to be something else entirely. Early in 2014 the electronic artist most comfortable with the moniker Derwin Panda set out to Japan for the first of a pair of trips - the latest of many visits to a place he holds most dear. This time a photographer, Laura Lewis, accompanied him as Derwin’s plan was to collect both audio field recordings from his trip across the country as well as accompanying visuals, with Laura tasked to capture what they saw and encountered together.

“The album was recorded at home in Chelmsford, but I had that visual inspiration or documentation from Japan. So it was a look back. If you go in spring of autumn Japan has this light that we don’t get here. You know how LA has this dusk feeling? - that orange light that makes the place glow, and the neon signs? Well, Japan has this… at certain times of the year, it has this filter on stuff. So when we went the first time, there were a lot of pink and green colours. Mainly the buildings and cars and the people, and I think Laura captured those colours really well.”

Those sights and colours translated to a record that differs notably from his previous album, ‘Half Of Where You Live’. Whereas that record was occasionally taut, perhaps harder and more piecing, the 11 songs that comprise ‘Good Luck And Do Your Best’ have a distinctly warmer palate, one that echoes ‘Lucky Shiner’ a little more, albeit with a clearer range of sounds, and also, to Derwin’s mind, one where “the tracks aren’t popping out against each other. It’s a [complete] record.”

Having finished recording his album, Derwin took the songs to fellow musician and producer Luke Abbott, wherein Luke “made it sound good, he put it into his magic smelter”.

'Good Luck and Do Your Best' is Gold Panda at his most relaxed and confident. Doused in a chalky Japanese-inspired haze and underpinned with a positivity and strength of conviction founded in being created amongst familiar settings and routines, it’s a record that is explorative and expansive, yet hearteningly warm and familiar.

Whereas his second album ‘Half Of Where You Live’ was occasionally taut, perhaps harder and more piecing, the 11 songs that comprise ‘Good Luck And Do Your Best’ have a distinctly warmer palate, one that echoes ‘Lucky Shiner’ a little more, albeit with a clearer range of sounds, and also, to Derwin’s mind, one where “the tracks aren’t popping out against each other. It’s a complete record.”

FORMAT INFORMATION

LP Info: Comes with limited edition City Slang 14 track sampler CD while stocks last.

Includes MP3 Download Code.

CD Info: Comes with limited edition City Slang 14 track sampler CD while stocks last.

Happy Meals

Fruit Juice

    Fruit Juice is the first new recorded material from Glasgow-based electronic avant pop duo Happy Meals since the intense aftermath of Apéro, their debut album which garnered a place in the Scottish Album Of The Year final 10. Shorter in scale but sharpened and expanded, Fruit Juice takes the tender experimental beginnings and unabashed pop moments of ther first LP into undiscovered countries glowing with possibility. Since Apéro’s release at the end of 2014, Suzanne Rodden and Lewis Cook have toured the globe, from Moscow to Bangalore via various European festivals, and have honed their dynamics live, in the moment, improvising and twisting the beat into new forms.

    As their live show has become more visceral and cinematic, Fruit Juice documents the duo’s new confidence. Run Around opens the E.P., with a sun-soaked tropicalia as conceived by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Rodden’s vocals warped into wordless peons to the rising sun. Lá Lá-bas reaquaints the listener to Rodden’s Franco-Gallic tendancies, but this time Happy Meals reveal a sparse melancholy, with spacious percussion and synth fragments giving way to one of the group’s most immediate moments to date. If You Want Me Now is pop music, pure and from the source. Alternating between French and English, Rodden recreates the live persona that has emerged since the group’s beginnings; an unrestrained performer bringing the innate sensuality beneath Happy Meals’ surface exploding into the light. Cook’s production work here sounds fresh and classic simultaneously, a glorious Jacno tribute enthralled to House music and Italo Disco.

    Fruit Float, opening Side 2, brings us back up into the cosmos, with arpeggiated synths from Cook’s synth arsenal duetting with a flute solo before Suivez-Moi delivers another pop song worthy of eternal repeat, a slice of electro not unlike the heady heights of Dare!-era Human League. Seductive and irresistible, it precedes the biggest step-up in Happy Meals’ history, the acid-fried Now That You Have Me: ostensibly a high-BPM remix of If You Want Me Now that hints at the insanity of the final moments of a Happy Meals live show. Released as a limited to 500 12” featuring marble-painted artwork hand-made by the band, Fruit Float precedes Happy Meals’ 2nd full length album, being prepared for October release. Each copy of Fruit Float will be different and feature a digital download.

    Elon Katz (White Car, Streetwalker) aligns perfectly with Diagonal in a prickling debut vocal release, 'The Human Pet'; his first original solo issue in four years, containing an intensely personal, puckered perspective on electronic dance music and experimental pop.

    Structured around a schizoid yet coherent juncture of EBM, IDM, curdled rock music and art school techno-pop, 'The Human Pet' is riddled with idiosyncratic notions on “cryptic topics like rebirth, nullification in stream speed adaptivity, dependence and wealth inequality” to portray a unique intellect and sonic vocabulary operating at the crux of his expressive powers.

    The project began circa 2012, around the time of Katz’s relocation from L.A. to art school in Chicago, and cocks a canny snook, both thru candid lyrics and obsessive edits, back towards the megatropolis where he was born and spent much of his youth. It can therefore be considered an attempt to better understand himself in relief of big city manias by channelling and parsing his own stubborn outsider personality from the madness.

    To our ears it feels like a concise dissection of Chicago’s industrial history and Californian digital psychedelia; probing at their twisted, fluoro guts with the inquisitive nature of a mad scientist or psycho-analyst between the yelping, warped and hyper-piquant yacht boogie of 'The Rhino Powder of New Sensitivity' and a heavily affected dislocation of harmonised pop hooks and whirring body mechanics in 'Clean Crash'.

    It all occupies a strange perch between introspective and exuberant, veering from mid-‘90s AFXian pop rephlexion in 'You Are Alone', to signature Diagonal tackle in the gas-chugging EBM-pop force of 'The Human Pet', whereas Unarmed twists into fractal phantasia, all of which maintain a thread of logic that belies the record’s vintaging period of refinement and distillation.

    There can be little doubt that this is one of the most complex, rigorous and distinctive in Diagonal’s catalogue. Closer attention is required. File amidst records by Luc Van Acker, Aphex Twin, Savant, Powell…

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: A visceral and industrial distillation of post-rave techno and loungy glitch vibes. Ascerbic vocal shards and razor-sharp percussive cuts permeate the howling resonant 303's, and swooning pads. Reminiscent of early Aphex drinking shots with Nine Inch Nails and the more upbeat offerings from Blackest Ever Black ; Thumping, unsettling and startling. Intelligent electronic music at it's best. A gem.

    Sometimes you have to rip it up and start again. It was a tough call for Dee Dee. Dum Dum Girls was her guise for most of a decade, an outlet through which she’s crafted a resonant, instantly identifiable body of work. Over the course of three albums, four EPs and an array of singles, Dum Dum Girls morphed from the girl-group-gone-bad moves of their 2010 debut, ‘I Will Be’, to the plush noir-pop of 2014’s ‘Too True’, a dark heart burning bright but as her music evolve she found that for many she would be forever refracted through the prism of Dum Dum Girls’ early work: retro-leaning female harmonies, a backdrop of lo-fi, fuzzed up guitars.

    In 2015 she decided to shed her skin, ditching Dee Dee for Kristin, her real name and adding Kontrol. It was a spontaneous idea that resonated. The challenge was to start fresh, go further back into her relationship to music. Sweep all her loves together into one genreless experience. “The first music I felt was mine was classic 80s pop and 90s R&B, from Tiffany, Janet Jackson and Madonna to TLC, SWV, and Aaliyah,” she says. “But for years I was hellbent on the rock ‘n’ roll thing, revering Joan Jett, Patti Smith, Chrissie Hynde,” - a rebellion against her classical vocal training - “but I was like, fuck it, I’m just going to try it all. I’m going to pretend I’m Kate Bush covering Mariah.”

    Refocused and inspired, Kristin wrote 62 songs, whittled the list to ten for ‘XCommunicate’ and finished the album with the help of new producers Kurt Feldman (who had produced her ‘On Christmas’ single a few years back) and Andrew Miller (who played guitar on the first Dum Dum Girls album and had joined the band in its last incarnation).

    Arguably the biggest shift, beyond the music itself, is that as Kristin Kontrol she tells her stories using a sonic palette splashed with bold pop melodies, her vocals showcasing a range hitherto unexplored on record. The songs that emerge from Kristin’s universe - a menagerie of new wave and R&B, European synth pop and experimental disco - are both familiar and unique, using genre rather than adhering to it, with a distinct nod to the present. It may be a leap into the unknown, but “little risk means little reward,” as Karen O once counselled her. “I feel free. I kind of excommunicated myself. Even if I have to rebuild my whole career, I’d rather work hard than feel stagnant. I feel excited again, and that's priceless.”

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: A beguiling and dynamic journey through the synth-heavy pop gems of the late 80's and early 90's.Groovy and soulful, and comfortingly shiny production make this a neon-tinged adventure that can't fail to make you dance. Terrific.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Indies Exclusive LP Info: Exclusive Loser Edition coloured vinyl LP available to independent retailers.

    Includes MP3 Download Code.

    Ninja Tune are proud to announce the release of a new album, 'I AKA I', from Ash Koosha. Born in Iran and currently living in London, Ash makes the kind of “mind-bending electronic music” (Pitchfork), which has had the cognoscenti buzzing for months.

    Working mainly with his own field recordings, treating each sampled source as a physical object, Koosha squeezes, stretches, distorts and moulds units of sound before using a background in classical music - both Persian and Western - gleaned from his time at the Tehran Conservatory of Music to structure and shape the result into affecting, original and often beautiful movements - a process he calls “finding geometry in sounds.”

    Koosha has already lived and done more than most artists do in a lifetime, not least being imprisoned in Iran for his music and having to seek asylum in the UK. More important to him are his current activities, from film and synaesthetic experiments to FACT Albums of the Year and support from the likes of Run The Jewels and Empress OF, to an interest in virtual reality which will lead to a world’s first VR “experience” of his new album, at special ‘viewings’ next year. His process sounds technical and the results are both destructive as well as constructive, but the resulting album 'I AKA I' is also fundamentally human, and that’s set to take Koosha to a whole new level.


    Jakarta based Jonathan Kusuma delivers a new EP on Cocktail d'Amore Music. After his European debut on Cosmo Vitelli's I'm A Cliche, followed by a successful EP on Berlin's imprint Love On The Rocks, the Indonesian artist keeps carrying the vessel of the Far East sound.

    The title track 'Black Magic' is a fat disco-tribal inspired groove that builds fast, eventually climaxing with a cloud of acid synths and mystical vocals. Japanese duo Mascaras (Chida and Cos/Mes' 5ive) straighten up the groove giving a 4/4 beats restyling. The result is a proto-techno, trance influenced soundscape, for foggy late-night dancefloors.

    'Urban Sorcery' is an Italo inspired maze of proto-acid synthesizers, sounding like an enchanted concrete-covered forest. 90's house inspired 'Red Vox' is an experiment of cosmic influences. As the vocal becomes part of the groove, the long pads fuel this spaceship pushing it to the borders of time and space.

    Pet Shop Boys

    The Pop Kids - Inc. MK Remix

    One of the biggest tracks from the Pet Shop Boy's recent 'Super' album, gets the remix treatment on this limited 12". The 'PSB Deep Dub' and 'The Full Story' versions are remixes by Pet Shop Boys themselves, including additional vocals and, in the case of 'The Full Story', an extra verse which brings the story of the Pop Kids up to the present date. This is the first time the full track has been released on vinyl.

    Elsewhere on the 12" you'll find remixes from New York house producer MK who adds a swinging retro garage flavour, while the Scene Kings EDM things up, and Israeli DJ Offer Nissim does his euphoric Euro synth dance thing.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    12" Info: White vinyl pressing with full colour inner sleeve.

    The legacy and influence of Mark Moore and S'Express is celebrated with 'Enjoy This Trip' - a collection of remixes and cover versions by artists Mark has been an influence on and friend to, including Chris & Cosey, Tom Furse from The Horrors, Horse Meat Disco and Ray Mang. The album art is a homage the punk-era work of artist Linder Sterling and is designed by another friend - Trevor Jackson.

    Having played a key part in the UK’s house music rise, Mark took things up yet another level. His idea to form S’Express with co-producer Pascal Gabriel was a natural progression from life as a regular on the club scene. Swept along on a huge wave of excitement for acid and rave culture, S'Express had a number one chart smash with ‘The Theme from S-Express’. This was their first of several worldwide hit records which helped thrust these new sounds into the world's spotlight and positioned dance music/DJ culture as a viable force. Mark's meteoric rise to fame - due in part to his flamboyance and fabulousness - paved the way for electronic dance music stars to come. With Mark’s keen ear for new talent, the first S'Express album ‘Original Soundtrack’ featured vocals from a girl just starting her singing career - one Billie Ray Martin. The second LP, ‘Intercourse’, featured additional production from William Orbit and Carl Craig.


    SAVE! is the new musical vehicle from Marc Nguyen Tan, aka Colder. On ‘Monsters And Fairies’ he steps aside as vocalist and collaborates with American poet and singer Craig Louis Higgins Jr. Craig contributed unsettling spoken word to the acclaimed dub-acid trax by Paranoid London (recording under his Mutado Pintado moniker).

    The world they have created together, with Craig recording in London and Marc in Spain, exists in a dream, suspended between the two locations. A creeping, creepy Lynchian-world, where acid-dub work-outs combine with stream-of-consciousness monologues to make one of the strangest records this side of Serge Gainsbourg’s reggae albums like ‘Aux Armes et cætera’. The record warps and shimmers as if seen through a heat haze, a confused existential daydream or a dark wave mirage.

    Released on Parisian DJ Ivan Smagghe (It’s A Fine Line / Kill The DJ) Les Disques De La Mort label, SAVE! finds Marc operating in the experimental shadows, against the grain, much as Colder’s post-punk sound originally appeared in the context of the other dance music in 2003.


    Olivier Carrié aka Uncle O chose to explore this effervescent and eclectic inter-zone for 'Cosmic Machine, The Sequel'. A second opus that takes us a bit further in time to introduce us to the dark corners of a French musical landscape where recording studio workaholics like Jean-Pierre Massiera or Roger Roger produced endless strings of records that challenged the laws of gravity (and sometimes the laws of good taste), where teenage heartthrob singer Alain Chamfort launched Araxis into space with a few synth notes, where drummer Cerrone enrolled in the Brigades Mondaines for the charms of a cover girl imagined by Gérard de Villiers and where the Anarchic System, The Peppers, Moon Birds or Arpadys dreamed of winning a one-way ticket to the moon. Some managed to land on our satellite, but all of them contributed to the space conquest aboard the Cosmic Machine. Châtelet Metro Station, Cassiopeia-bound vessel, the odyssey is just starting.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Vinyl comes with CD version of the album enclosed.

    Extraordinary Renditions is the latest collection of covers from Bullion’s DEEK Recordings. DEEK regulars Laura Groves, Jesse Hackett, Bullion, Never and Nautic (Groves, Bullion and FKA Twigs’ guitarist Tic) line up next to Georgia (appearing here as Geller), Raisa Khan of Micachu & The Shapes, Raf Daddy (2 Bears) and Gwilym Gold to give us renditions of songs from D’Angelo, The Pixies, Captain Beefheart, Thundercat, Sade and more.

    Whether you like 80s DIY pop, tear-jerking electric soul or religious rollers, DEEK’s got it covered...


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