MAGIC MIX

Electro . Synthwave . Electro-pop

WEEK STARTING 21 Jul

Genre pick of the week Cover of Trouble In Paradise by La Roux.
La Roux makes her eagerly-awaited return with the release of new album ‘Trouble In Paradise’ on Polydor Records. The album features nine tracks, each written and played by multi-instrumentalist Elly Jackson with Ian Sherwin on co-production.

With the rapid rate of change in pop music, you'd think the five years that have elapsed since the release of La Roux's self-titled debut would have left the singer marooned on a long forgotten backwater, quaintly plodding away at brittle, shiny, 80s obsessed electro-pop. Pointing equally in the direction of Difficult Second Album syndrome were the reports about the new LP's gestation being beset with problems (Jackson suffering from anxiety attacks that stopped her singing, acrimoniously splitting with co-writer Ben Langmaid etc).

So you'd expect ‘Trouble In Paradise’ to be the stuff of future bargain bins, but actually it's really rather good, packed with a whole set of brand new sparkling, catchy songs. That half decade seems to have shifted Elly's musical inspirations further into the decade, sprinkling her pop cuts with post-disco, pre-house electronic (but funky) dance stylings (think Grace Jones with Trevor Horn, David Bowie with Nile Rodgers).

So, remarkably, La Roux has pulled off the trick of coming back, back, back from pop's dumper, and sounding even better than before!


After annoucing their arrival in 2010 with the mind bending analogue psyche of "This City Never Sleeps", the collaborative project between Gavin Russom and Viva Ruiz (with the later addition of Matt Thornley), have been pushing their own brand of transcendental noise at the forefront of the game ever since, culminating with the release of their debut LP last year. This latest leg of their spiritual synth journey features four wildly engaging stripped down mixes of album standouts "Rain", "Paradise", "Ascension" and "We Came To". Inspired by the pounding functionality of 12" dance mixes and a desire to reward the beating dancing heart of the club, rather than the restrained cool of the VIP booth, the trio set to work cutting back on the song elements and filling up on the buzzing synths and punchy drums. The deep mix of "Ascension" opens the pattern with the electro rhythms of a Juan Atkins classic, underpinning those moody synths Crystal Ark made their own. Next stop is the "Space Mix" of "Paradise", which rolls on and on driven by that growling bassline and syncopated hats. The ritualistic soon enter the fray, mirrored by a huge warping synthline as the song begins tp power up into sonic overdrive. The second disc opens with the classic DFA groove of their XXXtended mix of "Rain", a percussion (and more cowbell!) heavy throbber with detached and cool pop vocals, spiraling synths and a fuked up bassline. Topped by buzzing electronics, this could easily pass for a lost Soulwax mix of LCD; it's that good! The double pack closes with the Factory Floor style tribal minimalism of the house mix of "We Came To". Stuttered and resampled vocals, rattling percussion and stiff drum machines and a simple synth bassline all combine to make up the twisted sister of "Two Different Ways". Another future classic from the DFA camp, and an essential for fans of Factory Floor, LCD Soundsystem, John Talabot and the Optimo Trax series.


Einsturzende Neubauten

Funf Auf Der Nach Oben Offenen Richterskala

    Vinyl reissue of their 1987 album.

    Einsturzende Neubauten

    Haus Der Luge

      Vinyl reissue of their 1989 album.

      Einsturzende Neubauten

      Silence Is Sexy

      Re-issue of the band's 2000 album, formerly available via Mute Records and now on the band's own label.

      After 20 years together, Einsturzende Neubauten had changed. Gone was the purgatorial clamour of old. In its place are textures and dark humour. Gone, too, was the brittle anger. On Silence Is Sexy, Blixa Bargeld is laconically louche, with a love for subtleties. The title track of album is an unbending, confusing spiral of sound--voices chanting, music forbidden, sometimes as sweet as trickling honey. "Zampano" is more familiar to old school fans, but "Sonnenbarke" invokes the boisterous atmosphere of ghostly beer halls while "Musentango" is self-descriptive. Sometimes chilling, sometimes life-affirming, never dull, Silence Is Sexy is a turbulent document of the times--much like Neubauten's beloved Berlin.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      2xLtd LP Info: Vinyl re-issue of the album originally released in 2000. This double album contains the track Pelikanol”, first available as a bonus track with the 2000 release of the album and now for the first time available on vinyl.

      Einsturzende Neubauten

      Zeichnungen Des Patienten OT

        Vinyl reissue of their 1983 album.

        John Foxx

        The Virgin Years (1980 - 1985)

          This 5CD box set covers the 4 albums John Foxx released between 1980 - 1985 - Metamatic, The Garden, The Golden Section & In Mysterious Ways - plus B-sides and out-takes from the sessions which have been added as bonus tracks after each original album, and on a fifth CD, Fusion/Fission.

          The Virgin Years includes a new analogue master of Metamatic , along with re-masters of the B-sides - 'This City', 'Film One' etc. The black box also houses five postcards with the artwork for the singles 'Underpass', 'No-One Driving', 'Europe After The Rain', 'Endlessly' and 'Stars On Fire'.

          Get Hot

          Party / Drugs

          Get Hot is the brand new collaborative project between established electronic producers, FTSE and Jakwob.

          After meeting each other 6 weeks ago to try concocting beats, they birthed something much more ballistic than they could have expected. Connecting instantly, like perfect circuitry, the two discovered they shared a punk love, as well as masses of mutual friends, from when they were both playing in hardcore bands. Within an hour of meeting they were in Jakwob's live room, feeding keyboards through amps like guitars, Jakwob letting loose behind the kit, and FTSE screaming his heart out. The results a fully-charged love letter to their lineage.

          Relish head honcho and leftfield disco don Headman's been busy of late, locked up in his Zurich rave cave finely tuning his forthcoming LP "6". For this latest project Robi decided to shake things up and experiment out of his comfort zone on collaborations with friends and family from the nu disco world. This first EP features four tracks from the album featuring an all star cast of Brassica, Red Axes, Emperor Machine and Sam from Piccadilly Records' favourites Gramme. The EP opens in gloomy fashion with the warped electro of "Work", a cybernetic chugger that'll tickle your ALFOS fancy with its industrial atmospheres and prickly sequences. "Barbarism" follows on in the same vein, with Tel Aviv's Red Axes dropping by to help create a doomy electro dirge, complete with fuzzing guitars, circular basslines and arpeggiated melodies. On the flip, "Der" sees Robi and UK house legend Emperor Machine delivering a zero gravity slice of acid tinged Italo, that stands up there with the likes of Gino Soccio, Kano or Rago & Farina. Closing the EP in disco-not-disco fashion is the ket addled ESG groove of "Sleep Red!" featuring Sam Gramme on vocal duties. Driven by a "Moody"-esque bassline and rattling percussion, the druggy sequences form the perfect space for Sam's dubbed out vocals to take effect on your brain. Grab one while you can and watch this space for Volume 2!


          La Roux

          Uptight Downtown

          The lead-off single from La Roux's 'Trouble In Paradise' album gets solo billing on this 12" - so solo in fact that this it's a one-sided piece of wax... Just as well that the track is such a killer isn't it? A two stepping drum rhythm is shadowed by a fluid bassline, while a funky Chic-like guitar riff gets reverbed and a hooky keyboard line joins the fun. Perched on top is Elly Jackson with cool vocal and a seriously hooky track that's part disco-funk, part 80s pop. A sizzler.


          Phoenix

          Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

          We can all breathe now. The coolest band on the planet are finally back - and how! Phoenix have been firm Piccadilly favourites for a good decade now (eep!) and this album has been eagerly anticipated ever since the incredible "1901" streamed on their homepage a few months ago. You should all know the band's sound by now and, even if you don't, you're in for a real sonic treat. "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix" continues the Parisians' effortless ability to carve out achingly-hip sophisticated pop music. Indeed, the polished ambience on this LP actually brings to mind the genius production skills of Steely Dan whilst Thomas' vocals are thankfully sounding less and less cheesy! Worth the price of admission alone is perhaps the centrepiece of the whole album and probably the best and most ambitious song they've ever done: the unimpeachable near-instrumental "Love Like A Sunset Part 1 & 2". Deftly traversing several genres - from the ominous keyboard-heavy opening via hypnotic Carpenter-esque spacey plodding to the lush acoustic finale - and synthesizing them into a steadily building sumptuous whole, this is pure pop for NOW PEOPLE!


          STAFF COMMENTS

          Andy says: The record that finally made them! Super stuff.

          Washington DC may have become synonymous with the smooth sounds of boogie via PPU, and the synthetic house of Beautiful Swimmers, but 1432R are introducing a new player into the game, with a wild style of his own. Citing his influences as ER, Burial, traditional Ethiopian folk and Scott Storch, the newcomer has hit the streets ready to take over the electronic music world. His debut EP kicks off in atmospheric style with the rich and textured soundscape of "Dropleton". Crunchy noise and grainy synthlines call to mind the aformentioned Burial, or the dusty rumble of Pepe Bradock with the depth of DJ Sprinkles, but the tough and rigid beat shows off his love of hip hop. Despite all these influences, the opener retains a distinct individuality. "Darkness Iz" transports us to the thick darkness of Ethiopian night, as Seifu combines skipping rhythms with traditional folk song and a menacing bassline. He switches the beat between the syncopated shuffle of future beats and the straight groove of hip hop, and breaks the melodies up with digital distortion and garbled glitch, keeping the listener on their toes and breaking away from all genre constraints. On the flip, we're treated to the expansive and polyrhythmic "Wedagn", which balances the kind of smooth and shimmering pads we're used to hearing Dam-Funk drop with stuttering samples of folk chant and his tight drum programming. Rather than accelerating towards the peak time dancefloor, the track breaks into beatless ambience before coming back altered into an ethereal late night brooder in the Burial mode. The EP closes in cinematic form with the title track, a moment of end of night beauty with emotive and exotic melodies. A beautifully placed saxophone solo sets up the transisition from gloopy bliss to mountain top euphoria perfectly, and the only thing stopping this being Balearic record of the week is the thick fog of distortion it clouds itself with. One of the most interesting and exciting records of the year from a complete unknown? Lock this one down before they've all got a copy.


          Starion's sound has been a fundamental part of Manchester's Red Laser Records since the very first EP back in 2012. He has released many tracks on the labels EP series and has now finally completed his long awaited first solo EP. We are treated to Starion's amazing signature sound throughout but with even deeper production, an increasingly sophisticated arrangement and sound design. A real treat for all Manctalo fans.

          "Hypnoto Roboto" is a throbbing Italo chug bomb and a dancefloor smash. Starion kicks of the EP with his signature synth disco sound. A Blade Runner club jam made for android only dancefloors.

          Next Kid Machine gets on the remix. You can't hold a good Machine down and Manchester's Kid Machine especially. This cybernetic horror jam is one of his best productions to date and epitomises the unique style that has Italo electro fans all over the world collecting his music eagerly. This will not disappoint. The production is slick and the atmosphere he creates reeks of the future. Heavyweight synth action right here.

          Starion comes with "Mindbender" the killer boogie jam. 80s electro and disco collide in a fantastic chug filled synth soup. Give me a large bowl and watch me glow like the Ready Brek Kid. Amazing future retro floor-filler.

          "Moonbase Alpha" is like the music you get on an 80s film trailer on VHS that you can dance to. This moody piece tells a story as it moves you toward the dancefloor. A story of forgotten encampments on moons far away, the survival in isolation and the horrors that play out in the minds of the abandoned settlers

          White Haus

          The White Haus Album

          João Vieira's career as a DJ started 15 years ago in East London, promoting Club Kitten (weekly) for three years with a couple of DJ friends. Back to his hometown (Porto, Portugal) in 2001, his career took off as a DJ, selling out 2000 people capacity venues in Porto, and revolutionizing the club night by mixing punk records with disco, Suicide, Add n to X and 80s electro.

          In the past 10 years he released four albums with his band X-wife, where he sings, plays guitar and co-writes all the music. His band was praised by James Murphy from lcd and played various shows in New York city with Metronomy, Simian Mobile Disco etc.

          Following on from the previously vinyl-only "White Haus EP", he now drops a full length CD, which includes all the tracks from the "White Haus EP" on a bonus disc. White Haus is his first work as a music producer, writing, performing and producing all the music (he even used his skills as a graphic designer to do all the artwork). The album is a mix of genres, heavily influenced by the New York post-punk disco-not-disco, West coast 80s electro and no wave.

          Woman’s Hour are not your average band. The first clue comes in the name of the London-based four-piece, taken from a beloved female-focused news and culture show on BBC Radio 4. The second is in their graphic, striking monochrome visuals, meticulously curated in collaboration with Tate and MOMA certified fine artists Oliver Chanarin and Adam Broomberg. These play with shape and texture, much like their powerful, iridescent music. Their 360º approach is closer to the art / music crossover of acts such as Throbbing Gristle, Yoko Ono or Factory Floor than most of this year’s indie hopes.

          Their debut album ‘Conversations’ displays the intricate construction and intimacy of The xx and the iridescent shimmer of Summer-defining indie pop. Their music - as poignantly personal as pop gets - has a rare singularity and purpose.

          Woman’s Hour have an uncompromising commitment to the unconventional. For them, music does not exist as merely a hummable soundtrack but as a wider and more artistic proposition.

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          Ltd LP Info: Limited edition coloured vinyl format available exclusively to independent retailers (600 copies for the UK & Eire).

          The first release from new label Rongorongo shines a light on the grey area between punk and reggae. ‘Spiky Dread’ is the result of a few years of hunting by Wrongtom and Ed Zed, who sifted through a plethora of punk and post-punk oddities, picking their favourite approximations of dub and reggae - a side of punk which is largely overlooked, save for tales of the mighty Don Letts playing roots records at The Roxy, or dub sessions round at John Lydon’s gaff in the wake of the Sex Pistols.

          ‘Spiky Dread’ tells a deeper story, focusing on the lesser known practitioners of punky reggae, with the odd iconic act snuck in for good measure. Opening the set, “America’s greatest unknown band” The Offs sat snugly amongst the mutant disco and noise bands of early ‘80s downtown NYC with an infectious brew of punked up funk and ska … their ‘Cool Down’ is a rare moment of downbeat brilliance. The following 13 tracks take in the skanking R&B of The Offs compatriots Bad Brains (who also grace the album’s cover thanks to Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Lucian Perkins), dubbed-out Liverpudlian dancehall from Jah Scouse (and two-thirds of Young Marble Giants), a heavyweight bubbler from South London art collective Family Fodder, and the unlikely combination of prog, punk and reggae from Birmingham’s Dangerous Girls, responsible for some of the best-worst rhyming couplets ever committed to tape.

          Acclaimed writer and punk professor Vivien Goldman appears here twice, penning liner notes as well as dueting on the lovers rock cover of Bob Marley’s ‘Do it Twice’ by her short lived group Chantage, with faders manned by dub experimentalist Adrian Sherwood. Heading north, there’s a rare opportunity to catch A Certain Ratio in dub mode in their Sir Horatio guise, whilst back down to Brighton we hear Peter & The Test Tube Babies tormenting their bassist with the Clash-esque (well musically at least) ‘Trapper Aint Got A Bird’. Also included is Return Of The Panthers’ apocalyptic dub rocker ‘Calling Captain Nemo’, which has sat unreleased for 30 years since these Cardiacs associates split up soon after the recording session. Another Home Counties group Red Beat offer up a sneering skanker produced by Killing Joke’s sonic mastermind Mark Lusardi, who also boasts credits on PiL’s ‘First Issue’ and LKJ’s ‘Bass Culture’.

          A brace of Brit-dub legends make an appearance, first on Ruts DC’s rhythm collision with Mad Professor and then Dennis Bovell crops up with The Slits, who’s ‘Animal Space’ 12” is as unsettling as it is slinky. Finally, the session wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the mecca of UK bass music, and Bristol serves up two of it’s finest uneasy skankers via the dislocated dub of Glaxo Babies versioning their own post-punk staple ‘Who Killed Bruce Lee’, and the frenetic steppa ‘Work’ by Electric Guitars closes off thecomp with a jerky response to Two Tone’s ska revisioning.



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