After excellent editions from Japanese digger Mori Ra and Dutch wizard Loud E, Neubau founder Heap makes his way into the Brasserie Heroique, locking us into a trio of viciously pressed reheats covering industrial, new beat and cosmic territories. The dark disco starts with the thunderous kicks, hissing hats and melancholic pads of "External Error", a tough new beat jacker in possession of a brutal Belgian bassline, fractured breaks and blurred guitars. Next up, "Possessed By The Drums" clangs and clatters its way through the assembly line, loosening screws with swelling subs and metallic percussion - tough stuff! Over on the flip and "Tripper" does exactly what it says on the tin, tacking some bendy sine waves to a rib rattling kick and spinning out into the bleep filled soundspace of a little pitched down Jarre.
Bristol's Jake Martin returns as Hodge for the delectable Berceuse Heroique and delivers more of his trademark, streamlined house and techno hybrids. The title track leads us off with bouncy bass, stuttered vox and quirky, club friendly trills and fx. Its undeniably Hodge - playful, infectious but heavy and heady too. "There's A Storm Coming" takes an eternity to drop, during which time it conjures up a fiery ball of elastic tension, the rubbery synth line stretching us out until we're ready to pop. A cataclysmic, crushing beat eventually marches forth, ordering the floor to regimentally join the dance. "Don't Hold Your Breath" sees another typical Hodge palette twist and spiral around a steady 4/4. Wavy and otherworldly, it's an inspired sonic environment, skillfully created by Hodge and lending itself to further exploration. Finally, "All Is Not Lost" sees a beatless exercise in ambience cut short by growling analogue synth swells and constantly echoing vocal fragments. A ode to being lost in space with nothing but solar winds and electrostatic flux as a companion. Wonderful stuff.
After an excellent outing on Versatile last year and a pair of wonderfully wigged out releases on his own Banlieue Records, Berlin-based Parisian Benoit B lands at Berceuse Heroique with a striking tribute to the Japanese electronics of the 80s. "Japonaiserie" was the term the Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh used to express the influence of Japanese art. But where VVG & co. sought out the minimalist beauty of ukiyo-e wood prints, Benoit looks to Hiroshi Sato, Akira Ito, Hiroshi Yoshimura and YMO, creating his own minimalist masterpiece of glassy tones and wooden rhythms. A futuristic vision, "Japonaiserie" opens with the skyscraping electronics and echoing percussion idents of "Tokyo Hi Life", before relaxing into the crystalline calm of "Compassion And Release", a contemplative number for thoughtful afternoons in the Fortress of Solitude. The shuffling bass arps of "Far Distant Star System" instantly conjure images of cosmic splendour, wonderfully enhanced by the sparkling eastern synth leads, before the taiko drumming of "100 Echoes" closes the side with a more traditional take on the 80s Japanese underground. Over to the flipside and Benoit fuses flutes and sequences for the Visible Cloaks-styled "Les Pays Extérieurs", then goes deep into brooding synth territory for the gloomy "Electric Town", an anime soundtrack in search of its characters. Finally the gorgous mallets and twinkling keys of "Wet Cellophane" bring proceedings to a close, rounding out a beautifully produced record which goes far deeper than a simple pastiche of its excellent influences.
STAFF COMMENTSPatrick says: Essential listening for fans of the ambient electronics of 80s Japan or those recent imitators/innovators Visible Cloaks. A meditative, melodic and beautifully realised project from the French producer.
Here is Jorge Velez on the iconic Berceuse Heroique, ready to transport the dancefloor to 7th heaven! "Baby Whale" sounds like a cross between classic Chicago house, 80s boogie, Ron Hardy tape experimentation and hi-tech jazz. With a huge bassline and piano chords glistering in from Rimini, JV's signature spaced-out production assures a head-turning dancefloor banger for the 4am crew, keeping those energy levels well in the red as we continue the dance right the way through the night. Adam & Eve is an intriguing mix of exotica, Wilde Calm's strung out quirkiness and Arthur Russell. 'The sound of Matisse,' says the label, leaving us as mystified as the music contained within. Bleeping drum machines, twanging strings and darting fx all make for a very ethereal, organic sound palette reshuffled through a series of ayahuasca dreams and visions. Totally unique stuff here from Velez.
STAFF COMMENTSMatt says: On one side a fuzzy, tape saturated homage to Chicago house and 80s boogie. On the other, house and exotica re-imagined through a series of ayahuasca-induced visions.
The recording debut of a collaboration between Jordan ‘Jordache’ Czamanski and Ilya Ziblat Shay. Three freestyling chunks of hallucinatory electronica and freaking free jazz; plus a sublime remix by Parisian maestro I:Cube - with MT's wild keyboard lines, distant bells and general insobriety threading a tactile, sunrise-friendly house groove. "Dayworld" contains earthbound flurries of sound and ancestral melodies beamed across long distances before being pressed onto wax, occassional bursts of thunder dramatising the track wonderfully. "Untitled" displays a kind of fractured, broken jazz complete with thick upright bass, detuned wind instruments and loose drums. On the flip, esteemed French man I:Cube gives "Dayworld" a bit of swagger as he adds forward propelled drums and a live bassline. After a brief spell being torn apart by a crushing vacuum the track regains control and heads, once again, to the dancefloor. I:Cube allows the jazz inflections of the original space to breathe before building up the track again with drums, B-line and sweeping dub delays. Exceptional stuff indeed. Finally, "Shit Bird" (charming) concludes with a dark underbelly of noise. In the distance screeches and groans from an un-human source alongside piercing strings and a static hum; thoroughly disorientating and quite unsettling.
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