Friday, August 31, 2018

Eat Static - Last Ship To Paradise

Interchill Records: 2017

Whenever a new Eat Static album drops now, I can't help but wonder, “Is this the one? Is this where Merv finally succumbs to all the trendy shit, losing that distinct feel that makes Eat Static the unique entity I enjoy?” In many albums I've heard out of the project, they've drifted remarkably close many times. The nods to drum 'n' bass in Science Of The Gods during that genre's first commercial heyday. The adoption of plastic Israeli full-on psy production in De-Classified. Even a build or two that had me expecting grotesque brostep monstrosities before pulling back from the brink and delivering the tear-out psy I mash my head to (are we so different, bros and I?). It's been a strange, skillful tightrope trick Merv has pulled these past two decades, but there has to be a point where he just says, “Ah, nuts to this, I'm leaping off with my parachute in place, haha!” This metaphor made more sense in my head before committing it to typeface.

I should know better than to lack such faith the Eat Static brand would ever do me so wrong, Yet once again, with their latest album in Last Ship To Paradise, and in the opening track of Eerie Nothingness, upon hearing a glitch-hop beat, that same ol' worry snuck up on me again. I couldn't help but think I was gonna' be in for an album's worth of tired, gibbering, random, nonsensical 'glitch' effects with hammy builds and drops as too many festival 'bangers' are wont to do. Then I remembered, “wait, that random, glitchiness has been an Eat Static staple for ages - they were among the first to ever do it within the psy scene, much less all of electronic music? Why would I complain about something I've always liked about them in the first place?” And besides, beyond a brief bit late, Eerie Nothingness is played comparatively straight for a psy-dub outing in the Eat Static canon, even getting Juno Reactor opulent for the track's climax. Hot damn.

As this album comes care of Interchill Records once again, Last Ship To Paradise is a more chill outing from Eat Static – the most ' uptempo psy' things get here is the proggy number Shadow Locked. We also get another indulgence of jungle's attributes in Fallen Angel, after half the track does the standard psy-dub thing. I'll take a little more of Merv's sci-fi d'n'b anyday tho'! Even the more questionably odd, trendy moments like mid-range glitchy bass noises in the titular cut and The Swamp right themselves by track's end, as if I needed further reminders that no matter how off-the-path Eat Static can go, they always find themselves right back where I like 'em. The remaining tracks don't offer much else in surprises, making Last Ship To Paradise a strangely middle-of-the-road downbeat album from Eat Static, but so long as they never lose those cheeky spaced-out sounds and samples, they'll forever have that lane all to themselves.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Etnica - The Juggeling Alchemists Under The Black Light

High Society/DAT Records: 1995/2018

No, seriously, is there a better time to be a music fan than this past half-decade? Like, beyond just the unprecedented abundance of selection, even old, obscure stuff is now frequently unearthed and reissued in ultra-deluxe collector's packages. I've always wanted to pick up an Etnica album, one of the O.G. goa trance acts that lured me into the genre's weird, twisted sonic possibilities. Alien Protein was the obvious choice, released on the familiar print Blue Room Released – be easiest to find, is what I'm sayin' (plus, Party Droid!). I never considered their debut album, released on the far smaller label High Society, an item almost certainly lost to the dustbins of an overpriced collector's market. Not only has DAT Records rescued The Juggling Alchemists Under The Black Light from such a fate, but included a second CD of assorted remixes and single material from the same period of Etnica's career. And then they convinced the band to unleash a pile of unreleased early works for a third disc of material. Dang, son, I would have been satisfied just with a standard re-issue, but all that and chicken soup too?

Describing exactly what makes Etnica click in such a way that so few other psy trance acts do is difficult to detail. Yeah, they have just as much wiggly noises and squiggly sounds as any other act of the era, but there's something uniquely identifiable about their particular method. They have just as much freeform songcraft as other respected acts of the era like Kox Box, but always show enough restraint in not getting lost in random, go-nowhere tangents. There's the obligatory goa tonal scales, but it never sounds like Etnica is completely dependant upon them either, trippy tribal trance sounding just as comfortable cruising the cosmos as it does getting crusties flailing about on Indian beaches. And while the original Juggeling Alchemists Under The Black Light album was a tidy seven track outing, all the additional material in this mega-package doesn't dilute the experience in the slightest, Etnica's sound hardly growing stale even as the hours of music pile on. Well, okay, there are a couple quibbles I must point out.

One, due to a mislabeled DAT being sent to DAT, a lone track isn't even an Etnica cut; rather, it's a tune called Alien Phenomenon by another High Society act called Evolution. Whoops. But to make matters worse, this was supposed to be a remix of Party Droid. Aagh! Also, The Early Years disc definitely shows Etnica still in their developmental stage, tracks on there comparatively unpolished when contrasted with the stuff they properly released. It's all serviceable old-school trance, but not terribly different from much of what else was available out there. A fun bonus, then, though when mixed among the wicked-awesome coolio cuts that Etnica started churning out on the regular (as the digital version of this collection does due to alphabetizing the whole playlist) ...yeah, I can hear why they initially sat on it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Various - A Journey Into Ambient Groove

Planet Earth Recordings/Quango Records: 1995/1996

Bruno Guez, the dude who oversaw Quango Records, claims in the inlay this particular compilation was the impetus that created the label. The original Journey Into Ambient Groove came out on Planet Earth Recordings, a short-lived print mostly handling early Harthouse America distribution. It possibly would have ended at that, Mr. Guez continuing on the DJ circuit while the CD got lost in a pile of trendy 'ambient house' compilations flooding the market in the wake of The Orb's commercial success. The head of Island Records though, Chris Blackwell, liked what he heard from Guez' efforts, sensing he had an ear for downtempo music that was more properly global than what most UK producers were making, and suggested a full label promoting a brand of 'global groove'. Thus, when Quango launched, Bruno retained the rights to the original Journey Into Ambient Groove brand, and used it as the premier compilation series for the young label. He'd go on to create many other series, but at four volume's worth in three year's time, this was his most successful.

Naturally, the title of this series is something of a misnomer. While there's definitely groove among these ten tracks, there's precious little ambient. A chill vibe, for sure; a dubby vibe, oh yeah. Even a light Balearic vibe, if you count the occasional flamenco guitar jamming as Balearic. Don't really hear anything I'd count as ambient though – no droning pads, no wallpaper sounds, no sentiments of napping at airports (though hanging out at a fancy lounge-bar might work). Not that it's Bruno's fault or anything, 'ambient' simply the standard buzzword for anything 'chill-out' through the first half of the '90s. It's just funny seeing it carried forward on a compilation series that'd go on to include the likes of Innervisions, Fila Brazillia, Cottonbelly, and Basement Jaxx.

What Journey Into Ambient Grooves has most in common with is the ambient dub that Beyond and Waveform were pushing. Heck, the opening track of Gato de Oro from Sapien sounds like it could have been an Original Rockers tune, which makes sense since it's actually a remix from Rockers Hi-Fi (aka: the group Original Rockers evolved into). And speaking of original rockers, Kruder & Dorfmeister's Original Bedroom Rockers is also on here, as it should be since K&D's records were among the earliest items Quango put out. Another Fine Day also crops up towards the end, doing his jazzy dub-chill thing in Lazy Daisy, while Howie B does a rub on Jenny Devivo's Love Is What I Live For.

Can't say I recognize anyone else in this track list, though I've probably crossed paths with traditional dub-dance act Zion Train at some point – they get two tunes here with Arise and First Power. The remaining artists all provide suitably groovy music to vibe on in your down time, but I feel this style would find its true form in the coming years, when the K&D influence would move downtempo beyond, um, Beyond's original ethos.

3FORCE - The Intergalactic LP

Werkstatt Recordings: 2015

How nice it is getting a Werkstatt release with some meat I can dig into. An artist with ample info available! An actual Discoggian entry! Packaged with a faux-vinyl CDr! Man, I thought those things a gimmicky novelty over a decade ago, and didn't see many of them floating around after their initial emergence – when folks burn themselves a CD, they usually go with the cheapest option, maybe flairing things up with some fancy labelling. Now though, I'm seeing them with greater frequency than ever, mostly from Bandcamp outlets. It's as though labels realize not everyone can afford an actual collector's edition coloured vinyl, so here's a CD approximation instead.

As for 3FORCE, hoo boy, is this ever a crazy one. Consisting of three members, brothers Dmitry & Alexey Goncharenko, plus Andrey Novikov, the players involved couldn't have had more differing musical backgrounds if they tried. The Brothers Gonch' have a tidy career going as Gancher & Ruin making a sort of ...2-step hardcore? The beats are all 'dssh ck-CHATCK dssh ck-CHATCK', like the build of a vicious Ed Rush & Optical tear-out – it's pretty unique, all things considered, though like most hardcore, tiring after a while. Mr. Novikov, meanwhile, makes spacious ambient soundscapes and light psy-chill as Eyescream, even getting nods from the likes of Simon Heath, SiJ and Carbon Based Lifeforms. Naturally, these musicians on complete opposites of the music spectrum decided they had chemistry and made some synthwave tunes together. I couldn't have made that up if I tried.

So right off the bat, 3FORCE (gotta' be capitalized!) has a leg up on many synthwave acts out there, in that they're already established producers with some songcraft chops behind them. Not that their backgrounds have much to do with the genre they decided to tackle, but it at least gives their tunes a polish that often lacks in many synthwave releases. I usually don't mind the amateurish nature of this scene, but man, is it ever a treat when you get something as slick as the stuff this trio offered up in their debut album, The Intergalactic LP.

And yeah, this eight-track album pretty much follows the standard synthwave tropes. Hot, outrun tunes to open up, some slower jams in the middle for those late-night cruises on a neon-drenched boulevard, the necessary, intermission 'chill-out' cut that could work just as well as a closing credits theme, and the reflective finishers as we race towards our climax where we fight aliens in space DeLoreans. Or something.

There's plenty of sounds on display too, from your usual synthwave synths and pads, to cheeky samples and chiptune bleeps and blorps (Intrusion, Celestial Squad), to piano interludes (Nuclear Sunday, Intergalactic). And damn, some fine-ass rhythms and basslines to boot. All that's missing from this album is a dope narrative the best synthwave artists provide. Perturbator may still be the gold-standard in this scene, but with a little more focus (and promotion), 3FORCE could challenge that mantle.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Green Day - Insomniac

Reprise Records: 1995

Because I know y'all are just dying to know before I get into this album, let's get my relationship with Green Day out of the way. Yes, I was age appropriate to like them when Dookie came out, and even had a mixtape with the obvious hits on it. No, it's not so surprising considering that was my lone, obligatory 'rock tape', which included such popular acts like The Offspring, Nirvana, and Beastie Boys. And when Geek Stink Breath was about to premier on MuchMusic, the hype did its job in getting me to check it out, after which I went “ewww...!” I pretty much forgot about Green Day after that, as did most of my peers. A couple dedicated souls still followed them, but most of the punk kids I knew started following the likes of Rancid, NOFX, Propagandhi, Lagwagon... basically anyone on Fat Wreck Chords. And aside from that song that everyone was surprised was a Green Day song, I ignored them until American Idiot dropped. I thought it a brilliant album, and even considered picking it up, but its lead singles became just as overplayed as the stuff from Dookie. I've since only kept tabs on their career out of continued curiosity than any interest in their music. So, y'know, a pretty typical story.

The fact that I almost bought one of Green Day's most critically hailed albums may not be that surprising, though I'm sure y'all are wondering why I now have a comparatively forgotten album of theirs. No, wait, you already know the drill – former owner offloading CDs, and I gotta' collect 'em all! Strange that he'd have Insomniac and not Dookie; did he keep a few?

Anyhow, I actually kind of like this album, more so than the agreed-upon best ones like Dookie and American Idiot. Whatever you think of Green Day overall, you cannot deny they know their way around a pop-punk riff and catchy hook, and Insomniac has several that I haven't heard in ages, don't get overplayed on classic rock stations (oh God, I so old), and don't really stay in my head afterwards. Wait, is that a good thing?

I'll never forget the video for Geek Stink Breath (ewww...!), but dang, how did I forget just how catchy the tune is? That brisk build in Panic Song reminds me of some of the best old-timey punk bands with actual talented musicians on them, and I guess Walking Contradiction is fun enough as an closer single. But yeah, hearing a bunch of unfamiliar Green Day songs is better than hearing Basket Case, Holiday, or When I Come Around for the zillionth time.

That's all I have to say about Insomniac. Most of these songs breeze by as punchy punk is want to do, and it's still a genre of music I generally don't make time for. This was a fun diversion, but not likely a CD I'll be playing again for a few years.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Silent Universe - The Infinity Coordinates

Cryo Chamber: 2017

Apparently the frigid wastes of our planet's polar regions weren't cold enough for Ugasanie. Nay, nothing but the absolute-zero temperatures of deep space will do now, or at least for the purposes of a side-project. Surely he needn't go that far so soon? Ol' mother Earth may be warming up to such a degree that we will no longer have cold poles, but there's still plenty of frozen clime's within our own solar system. Europa and Enceladus might make for some nifty cold conceptual drone music, what with the possibility of other organisms with hearing capabilities residing on suspected sub-surface oceans. Or go straight for the outer regions of our neighbourhood, music for 'chillin' on Pluto or Eris (ho-ho-ho). Heck, how about the regions between galaxies - now that's some impossible nothingness to reside in. Unless you're 'dark matter', I guess.

Mr. Malyshkin first launched this Silent Universe side-project back in 2015, debuting with a couple digital albums with the short-lived Belarus print Ignis Fatum - I assume 'short-lived', as they haven't released anything new in a couple years now. Always eager to fill out the Cryo Chamber coffers with fresh material, Simon Heath gave Pavel a new home for the project, The Infinity Coordinates the result. And hoo, boy was I hyped to hear this one! Dark cosmic ambient is already one of my vices, Mr. Heath's own Sabled Sun the initial lure into his label, while Pavel's various works as Ugasanie has done wonders in transplanting my mindspace into realms my puny human body has no business being. To hear these two concepts merged, having myself set adrift on desolate ...well, not bliss, but for those who don't have access to a deprivation chamber, lost in the infinite black with nothing but cosmic radiation your companion will suffice.

So I obviously personally hyped this album up based on the cover art alone, though really, what should I have been expecting of this? Space drone is among some of the droniest drone that will ever drone, and while some super narrative or journey would have tickled my fancy, I wasn't about to delude myself into thinking I'd get that in The Infinite Coordinates. At five tracks long – the shortest seven and a half minutes, the longest sixteen – there isn't much, erm, space, to tell much of a story anyway.

And whoa, what's this in the opener Spiral Space? Melodic tones? Mood befitting the cosmiche grande? Yeah, there's still that distinct, impossibly distant desolation Pavel's quite adept at, but he also captures a sense of wonderment too, that you can't help but be swept in the grandeur of endless emptiness. And while the album does descend into absolute isolation drone by the end (who knew faint radio tweets of Pulsar could be so comforting?), one can't help but feel some melancholy about it all too. Dang it, I wasn't expecting getting the feels in this excursion to the outer reaches of all and nothing.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Weekend Players - Pursuit Of Happiness

Multiply Records: 2002

(A Patreon Request from Omskbird)

Andy Cato will forever be known as one-half of the commercial juggernaut that is Groove Armada, but the chap's had a far more fruitful musical career than that pairing with Tom Findlay. He released several house singles under several one-off aliases in the half-decade prior to Vertigo, plus found time for other collaborations with the likes of Mike Monday and Alex Whitecombe. They even flirted with trance on occasion, the group Qattara having some minor success during the genre's commercial heyday (a Paul van Dyk approved hit in Come With Me helped). And while Groove Armada pretty much set him up for life, that collaborative itch didn't end, finding time between that project and DJ gigs to work with other musicians.

One such pairing was with Rachel Foster, a vocalist with very few Discoggian credits to her name prior to meeting with Andy. For whatever reason, a Balearic house bug had bitten Andy, and Ms. Foster provided the suitable pipes needed for his single, 21st Century. Sensing a vibe distinct enough from his work with Tom Findlay, Andy and Rachel dubbed themselves Weekend Players, roped in Groove Armada bassist Jonathan White for the ride, and set about making an album of chill-out compilation fodder.

I'll admit I'd never heard of this project before, but then my Groove Armada interest was only the passing fancy most North Americans had in the wake of singles like I See You Baby and Superstylin'. Certainly not enough to browse into Andy Cato's various projects, though digging through his discography has definitely been enlightening. Pursuit Of Happiness did reasonably well though, tunes like Into The Sun and I'll Be There hitting high marks in that bastion of taste, the US Dance Charts - getting featured in various CSI shows probably helped.

That's all the particulars out of the way, so how's the music then? There's a lot of familiar Groove Armada markers, like 'that trumpet', or 'that light jazz vibe'. With more focus on Ms. Foster's vocals though, Pursuit Of Happiness comes off less cheeky than a lot of G.A.'s stuff – classier, music intended for the coffee shop that uses home-brewed beans rather a corporate farm. Trip-hop that's in its post-Millennium gentrified state (Best Days Of Our Lives, Jericho, Subway, the titular cut), or acid jazz that's kinda' lost as to exactly what it is anymore (Subway). Music for when you want to cruise along charming coastal towns thinking of sandy dunes and salty air, but want something other than that specific Groove Armada song (Higher Ground). Peppy house music giving you true-blue Balearic feels without spending ridiculous sums at tourist traps (Into The Sun, Play On, Through The Trees).

Overall, Pursuit Of Happiness is a charming record, and charted reasonably well for an Andy Cato side-project. In the end though, there's not much that different here than on any number of downtempo albums of the era, and perhaps Weekend Players realized it as well, disbanding a couple years after this record's release.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Aidan Casserly - Incubus

Werkstatt Recordings: 2016

This has been bugging me ever since I threw this album from Aidan Casserly on: what vocalist does he remind me of? Like, for sure one of those New Romantic new wavers of the '80s springs to mind, but it feels lazy to name-drop someone like Simon Le Bon or Dave Gahan. No, it's someone more specific than that, by my knowledge of the New Romantics of the '80s is pitifully slight, so I'm drawing a blank. Heck, at this point, I'm thinking Curt Smith or Roland Orzabal, which is way off base for any number of reasons. Or maybe it's not even someone from the '80s. Aidan clearly takes influence from jazz crooners of decades past, as his albums flit with traditional lounge soul as often as synth-pop. Heck, he even got Kriistal Ann to duet with him for a full record's worth of tunes on Muse, which Werkstatt Recordings surprisingly released, one of the un-synthiest items in the catalogue of the self-proclaimed vanguards of retro synth music. Oh, and speaking of Muse, its cover-art, which only features Ms. Ann, is also used as the default picture for Mr. Casserly's Spotify profile. What the bizmark, Spotti?

So Aidan Casserly's been around a while, first starting out as part of the Irish synth-pop group Empire State Human in the early 2000s. Yep, even that far back, among that whole ironic-retro revival era, there were chaps making straight-forward odes to The Human League – what better time to enter the game when interest in the O.G. of synth-pop were resurgent, amirite? The group remains active to this date, but that hasn't stopped Mr. Casserly from pursuing solo interests as well. Aside from the collaborative album with Kriistal Ann, and this particular album Incubus, which I just uploaded, Lord Discogs lists two other releases to his name. Uh, and Spotify has four additional releases, plus a... soundtrack for The Amityville Legacy? Is that the same Aidan, Spotify? You already got his profile picture wrong.

In any event, Incubus is his third album with Werkstatt, and to be blunt, I didn't really vibe to this. Part of it is just due to being a style of synth-pop I'm not that into, Aidan's over-emotive croon not connecting with me like other new wave singers. I'm not discounting his pipes, and maybe in another, more traditional context they would tickle my ears better (like, maybe in a more Bowie setting), but the stripped-down synth-pop backings don't mesh so well. Some of the backing melodies are charming enough, and a couple tunes do find Mr. Casserly hitting stirring climaxes that get me roused (cannot deny the big “We're dead sin!” peak of Dead Sin does me right; sounds like "We're dancing" to my ears tho'). Also, Kriistal Ann pops in for a couple guest spots (Here Come The Dolls, Slow), and there's an interlude-instrumental in Escape Is Not An Option. Aside from those moments though, not much beyond Aidan's own croon stuck out on Incubus, which isn't his fault. Just not music for me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Alex Smoke - Incommunicado

Soma Quality Recordings: 2005

Yet another item I picked up in my Soma Quality Recordings splurge, for a reason that should be obvious to anyone. See, despite neglecting him for so long, I've long been a fan of Alex Smoke, from his appearance in Chris Fortier's impeccable contribution to the Balance series (three! CDs!) to his closing out of Marco Carola's contribution to the fabric series, ending that abysmal mix of minimal techno and giving me a sense of relief. Okay, none of that's actually true. I picked Incommunicado up because the samples I heard weren't all minimal (an impressive feat for a techno album in the mid '00s), the cover art looked cool (gotta' love radio telescopes!), and it was a release from the year 2005, a year I've sorely neglected for over a decade now (has finally caught up to 2011 tho'!).

Anyhow, Alex Smoke (Mr. Menzies to the Glasgowian Guard) pretty much got his production break right off the bat, scoring a minor techno hit with his Chica Wappa single on Soma, from which this debut album came a year after. He stuck things out with Soma for a few more years (plus several more records) before striking out on his own with his own label in Hum+Haw. That didn't last too long though, and more recently he's been releasing material through R & S Records, with a few one-offs on various labels. Not to mention his time spent DJing, but that's practically a given with most UK techno dudes anyway. Overall, a fairly typical techno career, one that's earned Mr. Smoke enough buzz that folks recognize his name whenever it crops up.

Having a solid debut album certainly helps though, and Incommunicado definitely is that. Released when minimal was becoming the trendiest shit around, but not so trendy that it dominated everything everywhere everyhow, it gives everyone a bit of every-techno you could every-want in every-2005.

For sure you get the classic stuff like Chica Wappa and OK, stuff more on a minimalist bent like Lost In Sound, and stuff on the trendy, blippy-bloopy minimal bent like Nuance and Passing Through. Look, few knew just how massive minimal was gonna' be at that point, so Alex may as well cover his bases a little there. Besides, his offerings are perfectly fine for that sound, by no means as plodding as the genre would turn in but a couple short years.

Elsewhere, you get experimental electro cuts (Coda & Clang, Recess), some moody tech-house tracks with digital vocals (No Consequence, Don't See The Point, Ditto), a melodic breakbeat tune (6AM), an... electro-house (?) track with Brian's Lung, and whatever strange, abstract glitchy trip-hop thing Jah Future is supposed to be. Cool, is what I call it, only adding to Incommunicado's eclecticism. All these diversions might be a bit much for those who were expecting this album to be a pure minimal techno outing (because 2005), but without that variety, I wouldn't have picked this up. It's what's important.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Porya Hatami & Darren McClure - In-Between Spaces

...txt: 2015

You'd think after a dozen years of doing this, I'd know how to avoid the aftermath. Indeed, I've done everything in the How To Avoid Post-Festival Flu handbook, and yet I still get hit with some bout of sickness after coming home from Shambhala. To be fair, the dusty farm environment makes it a challenge even under the best conditions. Not only do you have some twenty thousand souls kicking up dirt, but also all the cow-patty particulates that populate the pasture year-round. Wearing a handkerchief or bandana for cover helps, and I even take things a step further with medical masks when I know I'll be working in a super-heavy dust area for a while (those parking lots get it bad). Throw in the killer combo of extreme temperature changes (oh God, the heat this year!), and all around tom-foolery and chicanery that comes with any music festival, no matter how 'responsible' one remains, and yeah, it's no surprise folks come away from them feelin' the flu, even veterans who should know better. Or maybe I just get an allergic reaction to the being back in the rat-race so soon after a week out. Yeah, let's go with that instead!

So coming back, feeling down with the sickness, but still having to drag my sagging ass to work, you can forgive my lack brain power for a brief while following Shamb's. Getting the ol' writing juices flowing again sometimes takes a little effort, a little inspiration, a little kick in the cerebellum-butt. On the other hand, it's nice to ease back into things with a little sonic fluff, musical cotton-candy that doesn't require much in the way of actual analysis and critique, an album where I can spend the bulk of a review waxing on about anecdotal bull before getting into the meat 'n grits of the CD. Yes, this here In-Between Spaces from Porya Hatami and Darren McClure will do nicely.

I've gone over Mr. Hatami's work a fair deal now, and you might remember Mr. McClure from such collaborative projects like Memex. I honestly forgot he was a part of that though, and I wrote the review of that album with Lee Norris only a year ago! For a brief refresher, Darren's something of an abstract ambient journeyman, and possibly came into association with Porya either via their time spent in Japan, or their works released through Inner Ocean Records (because I gotta' give Canadian labels all attention they can get).

In-Between Spaces is a modest little collection of ambient pieces, only five tracks long, ranging from seven to twelve minutes in length. It's all very minimalist with soft, glitchy effects and static fuzz warping distant pianos, pads and field recordings. At points, I'm surprised just how natural some of these effects sound. Like, is that actual rain fall in Summer Rain, or treated static? Sends me into sweet, soothing calm of mental contentment, either way, as does the rest of In-Between Spaces. Mmm, recovery sleep...

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Various - Hyperdub 10.4

Hyperdub: 2014

You'd think with the camo cover art, the fourth volume of Hyperdub's Tenth Anniversary Box-Set Spectakaganza would be getting down with the jungle scene. It makes sense, after all, UK garage and d'n'b having a mutual understanding of cross-pollination. They hang out at the same venues, where none of that cheesy cracker-trance or lame-o house music is being played, and maybe even share a few musical ideas between each other. Not too much though, as junglists are all about that purity, and UK garage followers... actually, I don't know what they consider 'pure' in their scene, so many mutations having emerged from it since the turn of the millennium. It was all so simpler when all you had was 2-step, grime, and speed. Now, it's all a confuzzled mess, especially after that which is dubstep infected both scenes with varying degrees of interest and suckitude.

Anyhow, all this is moot because the camo is a lie. There is no jungle here, nowhere on either CD of this double-discer closer. Unless the camo is meant to reflect the disguise you didn't see coming at all with a Hyperdub compilation, of a genre that most would figure never had a chance of appearing among future garage, nu-soul, wonky-step, and 'night bus' ambient (dear God, Beatport actually tried to make that a thing!). I am, of course, talking about the one electronic genre to rule them all: techno. Because no matter how disparate, divergent, or unique a sound you may enter with, everyone returns to the mean of making either house or techno. It's an absolutism none can resist, even those dudes with the crappy, choppy beat boxes.

I wouldn't go so far as to call everything among these twenty-eight tracks techno. Some of it is 2-step garage, some of it is bassline house (aka: speed garage without the garage), and some of it is that weirdo electro-grime thing that could only have been made somewhere among the streets of South London, an impossible fusion of so many different things, it's entirely it's own thing (so, future garage, then). It's stuff like that that gave Hyperdub that extra edge among its contemporaries. Well, that, plus all the other things highlighted in the previous five CDs.

Generally though, Hyperdub 10.4 sticks to the stripped-back techno, spiced with that distinct UK urban flavour. Maybe some vintage bleep/rave tuneage (Funkystepz' Vice Versa), or a dubby minimal rinse-out (Fhloston Paradigm's The Phoenix), or Detroit-funk all wobbled up in a ketamine daze (Kode9 & Spaceape's Love Is The Drug). There's quite a bit to take in here, though if I'm honest, the deliberately stripped aesthetic UK garage of this era loves kinda' makes much of this sound like cheap filler on generic techno compilations of the '90s. Not saying Hyperdub should have stayed in their lane, and I'm sure many of these tunes make for fine compliments to any tech-house or techno set. Two CDs of it though, it's just too much for a single sitting.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Various - Hyperdub 10.3

Hyperdub: 2014

Wait, Hyperdub did ambient music too? Well, yeah, guy, of course they did. Doesn't everyone? Mind, what you consider ambient is probably a rather narrow niche of sonic padding and lengthy doodling, but that doesn't mean other scenes can't have their kick at the can with their own beatless interpretations of abstract art music, especially ones where 'dub' production is seen as the norm. While many musicians have taken the original Eno concept down radically divergent paths, that doesn't mean folks in the UK garage scene haven't felt the influence of spacious sounds filling sonic gaps between heavy bangers and the ephemeral void leading you to the Land Of Nod. Even 'gaihr-idge' heads need their comedown music, mate.

Still, it's not like Hyperdub has any dedicated musicians making just ambient music, or even much ambient adjacent music on the regular. Rather, they'll craft little interludes and quiet sound experiments as part of a larger album narrative (or a B2 on a single). As such, most of the twenty-three 'ambient' tracks on offer with Hyperdub 10.3 hover around the two-to-three minute mark, some not even reaching ninety seconds in length. Which urges the question, exactly what the point of this particular compilation is? Like, I get you wanted an excuse to show off more Burial, and certainly his two pieces of At McDonald's and Night Bus were key elements of what made Untold the seminal work of post-clubbing reflective misery that it was. However, sixty-four seconds of chopped pad tones from Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland comes off as redundant filler on a CD that's already technically filled with the filler of other LPs.

Most of these pieces are of such nature, taking the Hyperdub notions of urban digital editing to the realm of wallpaper music. It does provide a unique take on ambient, though it isn't that far removed from the glitchy realm of IDM experiments. It's interesting that two such disparate scenes could arrive at similar sonic points though – gotta' love all that easily accessible production software! Heck, some of this stuff could fit in with the noise camps, like DVA's Reach The Devil, and Jeremy Greenspan & Borys' Gage, which ends the whole CD off with an awful aural assault before abruptly ending. Kewl.

Personally though, I prefer it when things go for the urban-soul Burial mould, as in Cooly G's Mind and Trying, or Lee Gamble's DSM. But let's not leave out the retro-ghetto stylings of Darkstar's Ostkreuz, or the near synthwavey pieces from Ikonika's Time/Speed and Completion V.3. Wait, synthwave, in a Hyperdub collection? What timeline is this?

Then there's more traditional stuff, like The Bug's five-minute long Siren, and the super-traditional stuff, as in Fhloston Paradigm's Liloo's Seduction. Seriously, this production from the King Britt alias brings to mind '70s Berlin-School, and lasts ten minutes in length. On a CD where only three other tracks break the four-minute mark, Liloo's Seduction might as well be a double-LP composition.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Various - Hyperdub 10.2

Hyperdub: 2014

Look, I get all that post-dub-juke-bash-grim-skee-ap stuff is what folks hip to every tiny permutation of UK garage were digging. I mean, it must have been a significant development if Hypderdub was gonna' dedicated a double-CD opening salvo to it. And while there were enough tracks among those thirty-plus that a few got my attention or had my head twitchin' for a mild nod, much of it just passed me by as same ol', same ol', no matter who was chopping and screwing with the hi-hats and snares. It's music that makes better sense when out at a shitty London venue or abandoned Chicago warehouse, where the ketamine is floating through the air like particulates of ashen snow. That is what all those early dubstep parties were like, right? I wouldn't know, I never went to any, not even in British Columbia when the likes of Skream and Rusko were becoming big names here.

Just because it wasn't to my taste doesn't mean it was to no one's taste, and it was popular enough that many indie rags were forced to dedicate detailed write-ups about why this new 'yoot' movement was Very Important to UK's underground dance scene. It's not what attracted me to Hyperdub though, so if the review of Hyperdub 10.1 seems lacking, well, that's your reason. Now, let's move onto the stuff I'm more interested in: the dubby funk 'n soul music of Hyperdub 10.2!

That's right, the post-clubbing, depressive soul of Burial, or the urban grit soul of King Midas Sound, where R&B is taken through the UK underground wringer of lonely nights spent at coffee shops and fish friars before returning to squalid flats barely paid for by a dwindling dole, the unmistakable croon of a lovely lady still echoing in your ears over a cheap, choppy beat. Something like that, I think.

That's the vibe I get from these tracks. Burial's Shell Of Light, DVA's Solid with Zaki Ibrahim and Metrodome, Terror Danjah's You Make Me Feel with Meleka, Fhloston Paradigm's Never Defeated with Rachel Claudio, Morgan Zarate's Sticks & Stones with Eska and Ghostface Killah. Wait, Ghostface is here? Man, them UK grime dudes sure do love 'em some Ghostface. Don't blame 'em, Tony Stark basically bullet-proof no matter where he ends up (UK garage, Eastcoast rap, horrorcore stories, 30 Rock cameos).

And it's weird, because normally I'm not that hype to R&B either. I appreciate its influence and its contributions and all that rot, but generally speaking, I get my musical soul-food from other sources. This Hyperdub stuff though, it hits me at just the right angle, just gritty and askew enough, where the cheap, scattershot production keeps it leagues away from the slick polish of the industrious mainstream material. It's rhythm and blues as the terms should be interpreted, with bare beats and human murk. Still, it's not like I'm actively seeking such music either, Hyperdub 10.2 sating most of that itch until the next King Midas Sound record comes out.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Various - Hyperdub 10.1

Hyperdub: 2014

It's hard to undersell just how Very Important of a label Hyperdub turned out. Even if you excise the Burial factor, it's been home to many producers that helped steer the course of UK garage into ever stranger and weirder future incarnations. Acts like Kode9 (founder), Space Ape, Zomby, The Bug, Mala, Flowdan, Kyle Hall, Inga Copeland, Darkstar, Ikonika, and loads more have made their home on Hyperdub at one point or another. While I can't say I've messed with many of them over the years, I cannot deny the label's earned a pedigree in tapping unique artists that have caught my ear more often than not. Considering the UK garage scene at large is filled with redundant, generic, cheap-ass half-step beats and gimmicky bass noises, that's no mean feat.

I've long considered diving deeper into the Hyperdub discography than whatever Burial and The Bug have released, and while there are a number of Very Recommended records, I wondered whether there was an easier way, a handier way, a box-settier way. Why, hello there, Tenth Anniversary four-volume, six CD collection celebrating the label, how you doin'? Of course, even this set is a little old now, Hyperdub coming upon their fifteenth anniversary in short order. I don't doubt for a second they won't celebrate that, having done a little roll-out of their fifth birthday too, when all they had to their name were some critically hailed works from Kode9 and Burial.

Things really started rolling from there though, hence a quadrupling of material for this box-set. And kicking things off for Hyperdub 10.1 is nothing less than a double-CD of material, with all the familiar Hyperdub names, and then some. DJ Taye! Cooly G! Ill Blu! Mark Pritchard! (!!) Terror Danjah! LV! DJ Rashad! Too many more to name-drop!

As each volume of this box-set focuses on a specific genre or style of music, you bet the first would feature that dubstep action. Or, post-dubstep, I guess – whatever it was folks tried to label the Hyperdub sound (certainly not bland wub-wub). There's also, according to Lord Discogs: Bassline, Grime, Techno, UK Garage, Abstract, and Juke. What, no Trap? Sure sounds like a lot of rat-a-tat-tat hi-hats and snares among these two CDs. Right, trap wasn't really a UK thing, but they had a whole bunch of other names for ghetto beats.

And that's the sense I get from these twenty-three, two-to-four minute tracks, where drums kits, acid boxes and samples are chopped and screwed in such scattershot fashion, it feels like you're hearing music made by the slummiest of musicians too broke to afford any proper production or studio time. Y'know, real music, like punk rock, unfettered and uncut from the soul, technical limitations be damned. Or something.

I dunno. Sometimes I feel journalists made this stuff seem more important because of that supposed authenticity than any actual musical merit. Wouldn't be the first time that happened, especially in UK-Land.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

ACE TRACKS: July 2018

Another month, another review quota quite short of what I was able to crank out even a year ago. What's up with that, eh? Well, aside from having a mini-break for the Basscoast music festival, I figure two factors have hit me in such a way I never anticipated. For one, the fact is a lot of my current reviews are of material that is relatively fresh and new to my years. When I was mostly going through my older CDs, I already had many thoughts and criticisms built in by many years of replay – even the ones I didn't replay often still gave me talking points about why they ended up as duds in my music collection. That makes cranking out a review of it exceedingly easy, 75% of it practically already formed inside my brain matter. Aside from a few older items though, most of what I'm covering now doesn't have that long gestating benefit, creating something of a crunch on my cranium. Having an extra day to make sure my thoughts aren't some slapdash hot-take is practically required now, which unfortunately does reduce my output clip a little. So it goes.

The other reason there's a little lag these days is due to it being unbearably muggy this summer, my prime writing hours (usually early evening) all but null and void. Fortunately, that 2am time-slot seems to work out in a pinch, if I've overslept an evening nap. Best way to get past the gruelling setting-sun heat in this west-facing apartment of mine. Wasn't such an issue in summer's past, is what I'm saying.

Yeah yeah, bunch a' belly-aching here. Can I help it if I set myself up for a standard that I can't always maintain? In any event, here's the ACE TRACKS of July 2018.


Full track list here.

MISSING ALBUMS:
Mick Chillage - Harmonic Connections
Tipper - The Critical Path
Tomita - The Firebird
Porya Hatami & Lee Anthony Norris - Every Day Feels Like A New Drug

Percentage Of Hip-Hop: 0%
Percentage Of Rock: 8%
Most “WTF?” Track: that one Andrew Heath track? No, of course not, it's still the ever-lasting Oak Ridge Boys.

This seems short, even for a month like this one. It's got the usual stuff you probably expect out of these playlists as of late: a little ambient, a little techno, a little house, a lot of stuff that sounds like the '80s. Shame no Tomita made it in, though. That would have given this playlist some unexpected pep.

Things I've Talked About

...txt 10 Records 16 Bit Lolita's 1963 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2 Play Records 2 Unlimited 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 20xx Update 2562 3 Loop Music 302 Acid 36 3FORCE 3six Recordings 4AD 6 x 6 Records 75 Ark 7L & Esoteric 808 State A Perfect Circle A Positive Life A-Wave A&M Records A&R Records Abandoned Communities Abasi Above and Beyond abstract Ace Trace Ace Tracks Playlists Ace Ventura acid acid house acid jazz acid techno acoustic Acroplane Recordings Adam Freeland Adham Shaikh ADNY Adrian Younge adult contemporary Advanced UFO Phantom Aegri Somnia Aes Dana Afrika Bambaataa Afro-house Afterhours Agoria Aidan Casserly Aira Mitsuki Ajana Records Ajna AK1200 Akshan album Aldrin Alex Smoke Alex Theory Alice In Chains Alien Project Alio Die All Saints Alphabet Zoo Alphaxone Altar Records Alter Ego alternative rock Alucidnation Ambelion Ambidextrous ambient ambient dub ambient techno Ambient World Ambientium Ametsub Amon Tobin Amplexus Anabolic Frolic Anatolya Andrea Parker Andrew Heath Androcell Andy C anecdotes Aniplex Anjunabeats Anodize Another Fine Day Antendex anthem house Anthony Paul Kerby Anthony Rother Anti-Social Network Aphasia Records Aphex Twin Apócrýphos Apollo Apple Records April Records Aqua Aquarellist Aquascape Aquasky Aquila Arcade Architects Of Existence arena rock Arista Armada Armin van Buuren Arpatle Arts & Crafts ASC Ashtech Asia Asian Dub Foundation Astral Projection Astral Waves Astralwerks AstroPilot Asura Asylum Records ATCO Records Atlantic Atlantis atmospheric jungle Atomic Hooligan Atrium Carceri Attic Audion AuroraX Autechre Autistici Autumn Of Communion Avantgarde Aveparthe Avicii Axiom Axs Axtone Records Aythar B.G. The Prince Of Rap B°TONG Babygrande Balance Balanced Records Balearic ballad Banco de Gaia Bandulu battle-rap Bauri Beastie Boys Beat Buzz Records Beatbox Machinery Beats & Pieces bebop Beck Bedouin Soundclash Bedrock Records Beechwood Music Benny Benassi Benz Street US Berlin-School Beto Narme Beyond bhangra Bicep big beat Big Boi Big L Big Life Bill Hamel Bill Laswell BIlly Idol BineMusic BioMetal Biophon Records Biosphere Bipolar Music BKS Black Hole Recordings black rebel motorcycle club Black Swan Sounds Blanco Y Negro Blasterjaxx Blend Blood Music Blow Up Blue Öyster Cult blues Bluescreen Bluetech BMG Boards Of Canada Bob Dylan Bob Marley Bobina Bogdan Raczynzki Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Boney M Bong Load Records Bonzai Boogie Down Productions Booka Shade Botchit & Scarper Bows Boxed Boys Noize Boysnoize Records BPitch Control braindance Brandt Brauer Frick Brasil & The Gallowbrothers Band breakcore breaks Brian Eno Brian Wilson Brick Records Britpop Brodinski broken beat Brooklyn Music Ltd Bryan Adams BT Bubble Buffalo Springfield Bulk Recordings Burial Burned CDs Bush Busta Rhymes C.I.A. Calibre calypso Canibus Canned Resistor Capitol Records Capsula Captured Digital Carbon Based Lifeforms Carl B Carl Craig Carol C Caroline Records Carpe Sonum Records Cat Sun CD-Maximum Ceephax Acid Crew Celestial Dragon Records Cell Celtic Cevin Fisher Cheb i Sabbah Cheeky Records chemical breaks Chihei Hatakeyama chill out chill-out chiptune Chris Duckenfield Chris Fortier Chris Korda Chris Sheppard Chris Witoski Christmas Christopher Lawrence Chromeo Chronos Chrysalis Ciaran Byrne cinematic soundscapes Circular Cirrus Cities Last Broadcast City Of Angels CJ Stone Claptone classic house classic rock classical Claude Young Clear Label Records Cleopatra Cloud 9 Club Cutz Club Tools Cocoon Recordings Cold Spring Coldcut Coldplay coldwave Colette collagist Columbia Com.Pact Records comedy Compilation Comrie Smith Connect.Ohm conscious Control Music Cooking Vinyl Cor Fijneman Corderoy Cosmic Gate Cosmic Replicant Cosmo Cocktail Cosmos Studios Cottonbelly Council Of Nine Counter Records country country rock Covert Operations Recordings Craig Padilla Crazy Horse Cream Creamfields Crockett's Theme Crosby Stills And Nash Crosstown Rebels crunk Cryo Chamber Cryobiosis Cryogenic Weekend Cube Guys Culture Beat Curb Records Current Curve cut'n'paste Cyan Music Cyber Productions CyberOctave Cyclic Law Cygna Cyril Secq Czarface D-Bridge D-Fuse D-Topia Entertainment Dacru Records Daddy G Daft Punk Dag Rosenqvist Damian Lazarus Damon Albarn Dan The Automator Dance 2 Trance Dance Pool dancehall Daniel Heatcliff Daniel Lentz Daniel Wanrooy Dao Da Noize dark ambient dark psy darkcore darkside darkstep darkwave Darla Records Darren McClure Darren Nye DAT Records Databloem dataObscura David Alvarado David Bickley David Guetta David Morley DDR Dead Melodies Deadmau5 Death Grips Death Row Records Decimal Dedicated Deejay Goldfinger Deep Dish Deep Forest deep house Deeply Rooted House Deepwater Black Def Jam Recordings Del Tha Funkee Homosapien Delerium Delsin Deltron 3030 Depeche Mode Der Dritte Raum Derek Carr Detroit Devin Underwood DFA DGC diametric. Dido Dieselboy Different DigiCube Dillinja dirty house Dirty South Dirty Vegas disco Disco Gecko disco house Disco Pinata Records disco punk Discover (label) Disky Disques Dreyfus Distant System Distinct'ive Breaks Disturbance Divination DJ 3000 DJ Brian DJ Craze DJ Dan DJ Dean DJ Gonzalo DJ Heather DJ John Kelley DJ Merlin DJ Mix DJ Moe Sticky DJ Observer DJ Premier DJ Q-Bert DJ Shadow DJ Soul Slinger DJ-Kicks Djen Ajakan Shean DJMag DMC DMC Records Doc Scott Dogon Dogwhistle Dooflex Dopplereffekt Dossier Dousk downtempo dowtempo Dr. Atmo Dr. Dre Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show Dr. Octagon Dragon Quest dream house DreamWorks Records Drexciya drill 'n' bass Dronarivm drone Dronny Darko drum 'n' bass DrumNBassArena drunken review dub Dub Pistols dub techno Dub Trees Dubfire dubstep DuMonde Dune Dusted Dynatron E-Mantra E-Z Rollers Eardream Music Earth Earth Nation Earthling Eastcoast Eastcost EastWest Eastworld Eat Static EBM Echodub Ed Rush & Optical Editions EG EDM World Weekly News Ektoplazm electro Electro House Electro Sun electro-funk electro-pop electroclash Electronic Dance Essentials Electrovoya Elektra Elektrolux em:t EMC update EMI Eminem Emmerichk Emperor Norton Empire enCAPSULAte Engine Recordings Enigma Enmarta EP Epic epic trance Erased Tapes Records Eric Borgo Erik Vee Erol Alkan Escape Esoteric Reactive ethereal Etnica Etnoscope Euphoria euro dance eurotrance Eurythmics Eve Records Everlast Ewan Pearson experimental Eye Q Records F Communications Fabric Fade Records Faithless Falcon Reekon Fallen fanfic Fantastisizer Fantasy Enhancing Fatboy Slim Fax +49-69/450464 Fear Factory Fedde Le Grand Fehrplay Feist Fektive Records Felix da Housecat Fennesz Ferry Corsten FFRR field recordings Filter filters Final Fantasy Firescope Five AM Fjäder Flashover Recordings Floating Points Flowers For Bodysnatchers Flowjob Fluke Flying Lotus folk footwork Force Intel Fountain Music Four Tet FPU Frank Bretschneider Frankie Bones Frankie Knuckles Fred Everything freestyle French house Front Line Assembly fsoldigital.com Fugees full-on Fun Factory funk future garage Future Sound Of London futurepop g-funk gabber Gabriel Le Mar Gaither Music Group Galaktlan Galati Gang Starr gangsta garage Gareth Davis Gary Martin Gas Gasoline Alley Records Gee Street Geffen Records Gel-Sol Genesis Geometry Combat Gerald Donald Get Physical Music ghetto Ghostface Killah Ghostly International glam Gliese 581C glitch Global Communication Global Underground Globular goa trance God Body Disconnect Gorillaz gospel Gost goth Grammy Awards Gravediggaz Green Day Grey Area Greytone Gridlock grime Groove Armada Groove Corporation Grooverider grunge Guru Gustaf Hidlebrand Gusto Records GZA H2O Records Haddaway Halgrath happy hardcore hard house hard rock hard techno hard trance hardcore Hardfloor hardstyle Harmless Harmonic 33 Harold Budd Harthouse Harthouse Mannheim Hawtin Hearts Of Space Hed Kandi Hefty Records Helen Marnie Hell Hercules And Love Affair Hernán Cattáneo Hi-Bias Records Hic Sunt Leones Hide And Sequence Hiero Emperium Hieroglyphics High Contrast High Note Records Higher Ground Higher Intelligence Agency hip-hop hip-house hipno Home Normal Honest Jon's Records Hooj Choons Hope Records horrorcore Hospital Records Hot Chip Hotflush Recordings house Huey Lewis & The News Human Blue Hybrid Hybrid Leisureland Hymen Records Hyperdub Hypertrophy hypnotic records I Awake I-Cube i! 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Jay Haze Jay Tripwire Jaydee jazz jazz dance jazzdance jazzstep Jean-Michel Jarre Jefferson Airplane Jerry Goldsmith Jesper Dahlbäck Jiri.Ceiver Jive Jive Electro Jliat Jlin Joel Mull Joey Beltram John '00' Fleming John Acquaviva John Beltran John Digweed John Graham John Kelly John O'Callaghan John Oswald John Shima Johnny Cash Johnny Jewel Jonny L Jori Hulkkonen Jørn Stenzel Josh Wink Journeys By DJ™ LLC Joyful Noise Recordings Juan Atkins juke Jump Cut jump up Jumpin' & Pumpin' jungle Junior Boy's Own Junkie XL Juno Reactor Jurassic 5 Kaico Kay Wilder KDJ Ken Ishii Kenji Kawai Kenny Glasgow Keoki Keosz Kerri Chandler Kevin Braheny Kevin Yost Kevorkian Records Khooman Khruangbin Ki/oon Kid Koala Kiko Kinetic Records King Cannibal King Midas Sound King Tubby Kitaro Klang Elektronik Klaus Schulze Klik Records KMFDM Koch Records Koichi Sugiyama Kolhoosi 13 Komakino Kompakt Kon Kan Kool Keith Kozo Kraftwelt Kraftwerk Krafty Kuts krautrock Kriistal Ann Krill.Minima Kris O'Neil Kriztal KRS-One Kruder and Dorfmeister Krusseldorf Kubinski KuckKuck Kulor Kurupt L.B. Dub Corp L.S.G. L'usine Lab 4 Ladytron LaFace Records Lafleche Lange Large Records Lars Leonhard Laserlight Digital LateNightTales Latin Laurent Garnier LCD Soundsystem Leama and Moor Lee 'Scratch' Perry Lee Norris Leftfield Legacy Legiac Legowelt Leon Bolier Les Disques Du Crépuscule LFO Linear Labs Lingua Lustra liquid funk Liquid Sound Design Liquid Stranger Liquid Zen Live live album LL Cool J Loco Dice Lodsb London acid crew London Classics London Elektricity London Records 90 Ltd London-Sire Records Loop Guru Loreena McKennitt Lorenzo Masotto Lorenzo Montanà Lost Language Lotek Records Loud Records Louderbach Loverboy Luaka Bop Luciano Luke Slater Lustmord M_nus M.A.N.D.Y. M.I.K.E. 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