What’s the sound of one ass slapping? Venetian Snares and Hecate (a.k.a. Rachael Kozak) have made a six-track EP under the name Nymphomatriarch, with beats composed entirely of their own sex sounds. I’m not sure which is scarier: the ill atmospherics and twisted break-core sensibilities or the idea of Venetian Snares having sex. In the same way Herbert sampled household items to construct his classic Around The House, Nymphomatriarch sourced their no-holes-barred sexcapades while on tour together last year. Pick it up and give it a spin. It sounds squishy.
Warp has been really busy lately with three huge releases on the way. The first is from Chris Clark, one of the most promising artists on the Sheffield label’s roster. After the rather unspectacular EP teaser Ceramics Is The Bomb, Clark comes through with his long-awaited second full-length, Empty The Bones Of You. Wasting no time, he drops the dark, epic churner “Indigo Optimus” and never looks back, keeping the listener glued to the speakers from beginning to end through passes of ambience and abrasive, shifting beats. A master of mood and texture as well as melody, Clark has staked his claim as rightful heir to the IDM throne. Simply brilliant.
But while Clark waits to take his place as king of the DSP Mountain, two other IDM giants are busy enjoying the view from the top. Luke Vibert (a.k.a. Wagonchrist, a.k.a. Plug, a.k.a. Amen Andrews) will finally be dropping an album for Warp and in true Vibert fashion, it’s gonna be weird. How weird, you ask? How about some acid revival? I’m not talking that fruity, psychedelic “Strawberry Fields” pap, but some tweakin’, squelching, 303 Chicago-type shit. But don’t expect some kind of retro-rehash of old sounds (remember this is Vibert we’re talking about), instead look for a twisted take on acid, combining slower hip hop tempos and playful analog melodies. While I could have done without some of the vocoded vocals on a couple of tracks, the end result is pretty fucking cool.
After touring throughout Europe and the US this year, Ed Handley and Andy Turner are ready to drop a new album. Continuing under the name Plaid, the UK duo have crafted yet another excellent disc. Spokes atmospheres are lush and drawn out like their old Black Dog shit, but with the same intricate beat manipulation as their last couple of Plaid releases. While a few songs, including the up-tempo “Give What You Gave,” retain the playful feel of their previous efforts, on the whole Spokes is darker, more introspective, and at times more cinematic than ever.
Looks like Markus Popp did a full 180 for his latest collab SO (with Japan’s Eri) on Thrill Jockey. The result is quite breathtaking; those who found Popp’s Oval project cold and alienating will be pleased to find this record quite warm. The intimate nature of Eri’s bittersweet voice is contrasted nicely by the bubbling layers of organic distorted and overdriven drones, melodies, and noises. A real departure from the frosty glitch of his previous efforts. Look for him to tour in the fall with a specially built lo-fi/hi-fi soundsystem. Kudos to Popp for not taking the safe route.
After dropping a shitload of 12”s and albums under various guises, Si Begg has finally made an album using his own name. On Director’s Cut, Si displays his unique ability to combine a sense of humor and fun with the highly developed production skills that set him apart from a lot of other so-called IDM producers. While not every cut is a winner, several (like the bumping UK garage track “Buss,” featuring Miss MC) are essential dance-floor destroyers and others (like the glitched-out ambient closer “Time”) are just great listens.
On her latest album, Nichts Muss, Barbara Morgenstern takes one of the ugliest languages in the world (German) and turns it into something pretty. Of course, it helps that she has the voice of a wispy sex kitten. Melding snippets of piano (which she played herself) and guitar, coproducer Stephan Betke (a.k.a. Pole) lays down a solid foundation of techno-pop that makes for pleasant listening on a quiet afternoon.
The latest addition to the already solid Leaf roster is 26-year-old Parisian Cécile Schott, who effortlessly blends organic samples of traditional Asian music (koto and tuned percussion) with organ, live drums, and looped vinyl samples to create a sweetly innocent atmospheric album. Although some sonic elements on Everyone Alive Wants Answers are by now a little played out (if I hear one more person use a sample of children’s voices, I swear I’ll hurt somebody), the layered tones and harmonies and the lack of rigidly defined melodies give the music a smoky quality.
Keeping with their mandate of quality music with a retro feel, Toronto’s Suction Records is set to release another quality synth-pop album from label cofounder Gregory DeRocher, a.k.a. Lowfish. You may know Lowfish from his previous efforts on Suction or his excellent Accident Causer EP on Ersatz. His new full-length, 1000 Corrections Per Second, is a mixed bag of synth-pop ranging from the sentimental (“Step Step”) to the catchy (“Fric Frac”) to the downright pumping (“Photo Disintegration”). Forget the watered-down schlock that passes for electro these days—this is pure, unadulterated synth music, and it rules. Keep an eye out for more from Suction, including releases by Orgue Electronique, The Mitgang Audio, Skanfrom, and the Solvent/Lowfish collab Tinfoil Teakettle.
RAF + VINCE
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