Electro . Synthwave . Electro-pop


Genre pick of the week Cover of Portrait 01 by LAY.
LAY gracefully steps to the fore of London's bubbling scene of soulful and jazzy electronics with this gorgeous debut on Arale Records. The young producer, songwriter and multi instrumentalist delivers four cuts of warm, warped and buzzing soul to ease you through long nights and early mornings. Opening track "Seeds" combines the jazzy drums and strung out atmosphere of a lost Gil Scott-Heron cut with smooth, swooning synths and fragile guitar, while "Origin" is a introspective cut which marries gossamer sound design with a fat analogue synth melody. The EP is closed out with two cuts featuring co-production from Eglo maestro Floating Points, who offers some trademark keys on the brooding slow burner "Mankind" and lends an Arp to the aquatic rattle of "Still". This standout debut's already picking up radio play thanks to Benji B and Gilles Peterson, and has been a regular feature on forward thinking station NTS, expect big things for LAY.

Originally released on Tresor back in 99, Drexciya's debut LP "Neptune's Lair" sent waves through the techno cognoscenti and wiped the floor with everything else released at the time. Thanks to the heavy shroud of mystery the group wore with pride, details behind the production of the record are scarce, but rumour has it that Stinson created this masterpiece single handedly having split with Donald at some time in the previous year. The album opens with the moody chant and blurred tongues of "Temple Of Dos De Aqua", immediately transporting us into the deep waters the Drexciyans call home. From this threshold we're begin our journey to the heart of their world on the electro rhythm and crystalline synths of "Andreaen Sand Dunes". Stinson balances the deep and metallic bassline with the pattering of hi hats while the sounds of submerged transports powering down reverberate through the dark. "Running Out Of Space" takes a dizzying ride through machine funk, careering from eddy to whirlpool while a Parliament bassline rips through the lower frequencies. As the album plays on, Stinson incorporates echoes of first wave techno, boogie, sci fi noir, John Carpenter sequences and cosmic funk into the Drexciyan lexicon, blending all these ingredients together into a cohesive narrative. The result is an immersive listen, the sonic equivalent of an hour in an isolation tank, floating free in the trippy waters of the Drexciyan dreamscape.

Following on from DJ Stingray's 2013 "Weaponized EP" (TSAR001), Swedish hardware veterans Frak Step up for TSAR002, delivering a record of analogue black acid magic. "Lightpeople" has control voltage-controlled bleeps and sweeps merging together in a concentric manner, sure to twist the cranium inside out and get you stumbling into minute alien dwarves as you plummet deep into the vortex. "This Is Lance" applies the breaks while a thick kick drum digs in hard. A suspended, undulating drone rides above an ever-growing acid chug, cementing this deep into the moon's surface with unshakable foundations. Rock solid. "Twinhead" is a machine-fire acid attack typical of Frak and the Swedish hardware militia; head for the rave bunkers people! "Drumcometrue" sees Frak get the most twisted and deep inside their machines; splurting and spitting out some truly unique and mind-bending sounds like only they can. Ace.

My Panda Shall Fly


My Panda Shall Fly AKA musician and visual artist Suren Seneviratne, is set to release ‘Tropical’ via Soundway Records.

A kaleidoscope of rainbow textures and rhythms disperse into the exotic soundscape of ‘Tropical’. Electronics, real folk instruments and noise-making objects feature here generously on this six-track concept album, blending together a sonic palette influenced by a rich variety of music, people and places.

The material was initially written over the course of a few months during what Seneviratne called "a beautiful burst of inspiration". Working with veteran producer Asier Leatxe Ibanez d'Opakoa (Electric Lady Studios, NYC), Seneviratne then set about disassembling all the songs and re-working them meticulously, enriching the sounds by adding a huge range of live instrumentation, before processing the audio through vintage analogue studio gear.



    Given the tendency of popstrels to emerge fully formed from the ether, the development of North-Londoner Pawws (aka singer-songwriter Lucy Taylor) has undoubtedly been a much-needed breath of fresh air. Describing her sound as “upsetting disco”, her work details trials of love lost and won.

    Lucy started her career as a live session musician for Kele Okereke and also performed with the likes of MGMT. Her experiences with them led her to write her own tracks, recording them at home and posting them online under her adopted nom de plume. Her first releases gained her a huge amount of attention, heralding praise from the likes of NME and Billboard. Not long after releasing her debut single Time To Say Goodbye / Slow Love she signed a deal with Three Six Zero, a management company partnered with Roc Nation.

    Sugar, her debut EP, is coloured by a subtlety of emotion and lingering nostalgia that encapsulates the maturity of her sound, all the while exploring the tempestuousness of relationships. “I guess the main theme of this EP is the what happens when you continue loving someone, even when you know it is bad for you,” she explains. “Although the EP is generally about the pitfalls of love I still think it has an element of hope to it, because you only take risks and end up in those situations when you’re open with your heart.”

    Saint Pepsi

    Fiona Coyne / Fall Harder

    For his Carpark debut, Saint Pepsi takes a step away from the more genre-shuffling styles of his Internet releases to focus his skills on high-power pop.

    The title track of the "Fiona Coyne" 7-inch is an uplifting tribute to fantastical romance and the joyous dreams pop culture can provide. Mastermind Ryan DeRobertis lays down a funky guitar riff and bass line of Chic-quality to tease our senses before tickling us silly with the chorus' ecstatic horns.

    "My love's on the silver screen/ she's always playing make believe," sings the 21-year-old songwriter, playing a bit of make-believe himself. The song, named after a certain graduate of Degrassi Community School, acts out the fantasy of dating a TV star and plays with the idea that music can be something of a catalyst for romance.

    The b-side, "Fall Harder," is a lovelorn hit about a somewhat unattainable beauty. "You've got me under your spell/ and baby, I couldn't fall harder," DeRobertis sings over an Orange Juice-worthy riff and electronic subtleties like the sound of a Galaga battle.

    For this 7-inch, DeRobertis wrote danceable love songs with a nostalgic aesthetic to the production "I think nostalgia is inherently narcissistic and I'm currently very into the idea of exploring the connection between nostalgia and narcissism," he says.

    One hot and eclectic crew, put together in 2012 by Puto Márcio. A strike team of guys he got in touch with via internet over the years. Apart from himself (Loures, North of Lisbon), all the others were living south of the river Tagus (dividing the greater Lisbon area), so Tia Maria was not born of a neighborhood bond as other crews were. Puto Márcio and Lycox are currently based in Rennes and Paris, respectively, and it’s precisely at this point that the EP is happening. The title "Tá Tipo Já Não Vamos Morrer" (‘It's like we won't die anymore’) is a strong statement aiming for posterity. "7 Maravilhas (Damas Da Cor Do Pecado" is a wonderfully synthetic afrohouse torch song, if such a thing exists. A simple, effective structure contains all the essentials of a seriously moody dancefloor spectacle. It floats along while we imagine who might the ladies in the title be - "7 Wonders (Ladies The Color Of Sin)". "O Tempo Da Vida", meaning something close to ‘Life's Time’, starts off with a classic mellow ambient intro before the now familiar marimba rhythm kicks in. With the right circumstances this one will drive you to joyful tears. Add other layers of ambience, plucked strings, an extremely discrete percussion roll in the background and a moving sense of melody and you've got a love affair in the tropics. One of B.Boy's specialties is tarraxo, that hypnotic, druggy slow groove. A sort of trance is built up from the heavy beats, helped by repeated vocal snippets and a shower of blips making this a strange hybrid even for those familiar with all the fusions tested in dance music during the 90s and early noughties. Enter Lycoox with a tense mood, skipping beats and a complex web of melody. "Underground" barely has words but there is a sense of dense messages coming through. B.Boy returns with crew founder Puto Márcio, "Hino Da Noite" kills softly, in some ways contradicting the title (‘Night Anthem’). It's useless to translate "Tia Maria Da Vida", which we interpret as a deeply felt hommage to the crew. Most weird and sad tarraxo, working its way under the skin. Congas, flute, a slow but jacking beat, a sort of melodica and keys that double as bassline. An enormous pulsing heart for maximum emotion and boldness. The styles showcased here are testament of the awesome creativity happening in this loose community of countless bedrooms, spawning a network of music production and parties largely off the coast of established scenes. We are still scratching the surface.


    Matt says: AMAZING new future world music from Lisbon. On a similar tip to Al Dobson Jr but taking it from the back garden's of south London and into into the clubs of Portugal! RIYL Auntie Flo, Alejandro Paz and all things tropical! HOT!

    The Wire

    Issue 367 - September 2014

      On the cover: Dean Blunt: David Keenan talks black metal, free jazz and life after Hype Williams with East London’s shapeshifting samplist. David Rosenboom: From brainwaves to stellar oscillations, the US composer finds sonic inspiration in all possible worlds. Phil Freeman's Primer on the career of the freewheeling saxophonist, Pharoah Sanders. Plus: Justin Broadrick's Invisible Jukebox, Jad Fair's Inner Sleeve, London grime producer Slackk, Brooklyn's Sound And Chaos studio, Drew Mulholland, Catherine Lamb, heaps of reviews, news and more.

      Inspired by a German documentary about the emerging breakdance phenomenon in Los Angeles, the 1984 film Breakin' is for many a reference point for the explosion of hip-hop in the United States and across the world. With it's colorful cast of characters and dazzling array of dance moves, the movie became an international hit and the soundtrack captures the sounds that inspired a entire generation of breakers and B-boys to push their craft to new heights. Anchored by the Billboard Top 10 hit single “Breakin'... There's No Stopping Us Now” by Ollie & Jerry, the Breakin' soundtrack pulses with the electro-funk beats and early hip-hop flavors - including The Bar-Kays “Freakshow On The Dance Floor” and “99 1/2” by Carol Lynn Townes - guaranteed to get the dancefloor rocking. Featuring additional appearances by Chaka Khan (fronting the end of night anthem "Ain't Nobody" with Rufus), Re-Flex and a young LA rapper named Ice-T (who also appears in the film), the Breakin' soundtrack is an essential album for all breakers, poppers, lockers, B-boys, and B-girls, or any fan of hip-hop, electro and disco. In continuing their commitment to producing first-class reissues of landmark records, Get On Down is proud to present Breakin' in a brand-new LP release.

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