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December is the alias of Paris based Techno producer Tomas More. Having released a slew of respected releases under his full name, Tomas is mutating his focus towards the a more experimental realm with his work as December. ‘On a Leash’ proceeds Tomas’s sold out debut Cassette for Where To Now?, and a 12” for Blackest Ever Black ‘In Advance of the Broken Arm’.

December’s latest offering for Where To Now? explores resoundingly tuff and metallic, largely analogue sounding techno jams. In fact the lead track ‘Berds’ fits this bill exactly, its tightly syncopated tribalism rumbling beneath animalistic woops and cries that imbue the composition with a kind of primal urgency that hits you right in that spot where your baser urges and reactions emanate from. A preference for tight, lo-slung rhythms and snares that punch, rather than snap, is cemented in this steroidal opener.

‘East’ and ‘West’ are haunted by the spirit of ‘90s electronica. However these tracks don’t seem so detached from the dancefloor to operate within the somewhat snobbish paradigms of the IDM tag. ‘East’s ring-modulated rhythms and pinging percussive blips roll with a kind of Warp-ed UK Garage feel beneath gossamer melodies until a grooving yet amorphous bass rumble nicely ties the soundboard together. ‘West’ has a genuinely impressive rhythmic panache to be found in the way its filtered blips and strange electro-gamelan pulses create a sub-level of rhythm around the 4/4 kicks, swipes of white noise and lo-fi claps. The strange acoustic loop that forms the basis of the track’s melody is presented in all its glory as a kind of anti-drop towards the end.

Remix work for ‘Berds’ comes from fellow Parisian experimental visionary ‘Low Jack’ (In Paradisum, L.I.E.S, The Trilogy Tapes…). Low Jack transforms the direct nature of ‘Berds’, adding a woozy, narcotic substance to the machine-operated rhythms, creating a parallel soundworld to the original’s imposing and brutalist structure. The animal cries that seemed ecstatic in the origin are pitched to a point of urgency. The jungle is ablaze, all life-forms are fleeing, it’s really the end.

December has forthcoming releases scheduled for In Paradisum, Jealous God, and Blackest Ever Black.

**HIGHLY LIMITED REPRESS OF THIS ICONIC MANCHESTER 12" ***

Where To Now? welcome back the delectable sounds of Space Afrika - Manchester's finest purveyors of lush synthetic textures, unfathomably deep electronics and cerebral techno / house hybrids. Having already blown minds and bodies at the Boneyard and Mantra Live warehouse parties through 2015, the exceptional duo of Josh and Josh (that's what we all know em as anyway) expand on their completely individual sound palette on "Primrose Avenue". 'Scorched inner city soundscapes, considered field recordings and rolling dubbed out techno dread' state the sales notes and I can't really better that. They've obviously grown up, like the rest of us, on a diet of Basic Channel, Underground Resistance, Move D and Deepchord; but rather than try to mimic or replicate these legendary acts, Space Afrika simply use them as a reference point from which to base their studies. What actually transpires onto the wax is a pair totally locked into their machines (they write and produce through a variety of boxes, synths and fx - not remaining elitistly analogue but more exclusively hands-on - whether it's a digital fx unit or analogue Moog Fatty). The record opens with "Contemplation", the glassy surface you break through to reach the murky, submerged depths of the EP. Standing shimmering and immense, a mentally purifying preparatory reboot process. "Resolutions" warm and spacious pads suspended, looping in the mix would be soothing if set apart from the swung beats and exhalations of gaseous metallic tremors. It’s the music of a landscape that is simultaneously urban and aqueous. On "The Way Home" that strange shuffle Space Afrika create using percussion laden with lingering, hissing reverb wraps around a more upbeat pulse. The bass worms under a jazz-flecked chordal workout that chimes with a similarly soul-hugging sound as before. The pace of "The Sudden Walk" is set to beats that live by an irregular heartbeat and digital-sounding sideswipe, where generously mixed cymbals cut through haunting, fx shrouded concrete. This sonic architecture intrudes on the trancelike rhythm of the mechanical & robust drums, processed sounds of the city interrupt its interplay with the bell-like orbs of low-ringing chimes, perhaps signaling the final undoing of the cleansing process experienced at the record’s beginning. Reboot required. The new breed of Manchester's subterranean producers are here. Take note. Mastered by Rupert Clervaux at Grays Inn Road.
Sleeve design by Studio of the Immaculate Heart.


STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Manchester's finest. Very big in the warehouse right now. If you don't know em - get to know em. T I P!

YPY is the work of Osaka based Koshiro Hino. Having recently released on labels such as Nous, his own label BirdFriend, and the legendary EM records Koshiro now presents the 7 track LP ‘2020’ for Where To Now? Records.

The LP leads with the slow building, off kilter title track ‘2020’, where flurries of eastern horns skitter beneath evolving layers of wonked yet beautifully balanced percussive movements, coming off like a technoid homage to the fourth world works of Eno & Hassel. As is the case with much of Hino’s music, as the piece develops it takes on heavier and heavier modes of experimentation and excitement – turbines whirr and fizz alongside layers and layers of percussion, constantly teetering on the edge of No-Wave breakdown whilst never losing sight of the rhythmic backbone, recouping from every moment of collapse with total grace.

Hino swings from this cacophony of rhythms on ‘2020’ to the playful, straight-laced ghetto tech burn of ‘Soup’, using layer upon layer of low key jazzed melody and percussion to gather pace and momentum, showing another side of the YPY palette with a deep groove and melody indebted to the work of Carl Craig as Psyche/BFC and the like.

Hino creates a musical world that veers from the frantic to the sublime seamlessly and appears to ground his interest in the potential harmony of these two states – or more specifically, how the two can exist in a way which keeps heads down and bodies moving in a dancefloor capacity whilst challenging the listeners expectations at every turn. Whilst obviously this is not a new concept, it is Hino’s own historic steeping in experimental drone, improvisation, and his work with his intense, hypnotic, minimalist psych outfit Goat which allow him to hold a unique position in this electronic realm.

Yusaku Shigeyasu (Juno Plus) further conveys this aura of Hino’s work in a YPY feature piece for Juno Plus, writing - “Intensity is a common thread that runs through all of Hino’s sprawling productions. It isn’t necessarily synonymous with a boisterous, forceful sound. He eschews conspicuous structures or overt arrangements and brings a sonic potential out of sober materials, creating deceptively stark pieces with a dramatic impact that capture and hold the attention from the off.” - Yusaku Shigeyasu / Juno Plus

Hino’s more rockist influences are perhaps most pertinent on ‘Ash’ which embodies this improvisational and stark approach to rhythm. ‘Soup’ is a doomy, sludge hybrid of fizzing electronics and stoner swagger, owing as much to contemporary artists such as Earth and Om, as it does to the first wave of Japanese and German experimental psych of the early 70’s. It’s a piece which is unlike anything else on the record, a vital piece of the puzzle when understanding where Koshiro is coming from, yet leaving no clues as to where he is going.



"Paint en Pointe" is a compilation of selected compositions by Eugene Ward, otherwise known to most as Dro Carey / Tuff Sherm. The tracks have been taken from a series of performance collaborations with choreographer Patric Kuo over a 5 month period. Throughout the series many ensemble types were explored, ranging from solos up to large groups of as many as 16 dancers. Patric Kuo is a Sydney based dancer / choreographer originally trained in all styles, but presently heavily draws his influence from hip hop and contemporary dance. Coming from a performing arts and commercial dance background, Kuo has expanded his ideas about communicating to an audience, moving away from the traditional entertainment relationship towards an approach that includes engagement more informed by performance art. Best known for his club music productions in his Tuff Sherm and Dro Carey guises, the compilation offers an exploration of a different side of Ward’s music. "Paint en Pointe" showcases Ward the composer, synthesising his characteristic textures and percussion with structures that allow in some instances more formal approaches (informed by his study of composition at the Australian Film, Television & Radio school), while in others, even greater experimentation than in his – already quite singular - solo music work. "Paint en Pointe'" explores that tantalizing and ultra-modern dance ethos of contrasting double & half time feels to create a juxtaposition of fast and slow rhythms that echoes the sound palette of styles such as trap, juke and footwork without aping them or even directly referring to them. At times "Paint en Pointe" recalls the deconstructed, mutated, and cinematic dancefloor work of UK producers such as Wen and Logos, but embraces a more organic, experimental, and occasionally exotic approach to rhythmic structure that is comparable to the work of artists such as Fatima Al Quadri or Shackleton - combine these two worlds with a constant respect and acknowledgement for modern sound design masters such as Rashad Becker and Mika Vainio and you find a forward thinking sound that stands completely alone.

STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Exceptional disjointed future body music from Sydney's Tuff Sherm man. Artistically and sonically in a whole world unto itself.


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