Monday, April 29, 2019

Pet Shop Boys - Further Listening 1988-1989

Parlaphone: 2018

This isn't a proper Pet Shop Boys release per se, but rather an added bonus to the Introspective re-issue. In fact, most of their albums have these Further Listening CDs attached to them now, which nags the question of whether I should review these as a separate entity at all. I probably wouldn't, but when ripping the CD to my harddrive, it came up as Further Listening 1988-1989, not as Introspective: Disc 2, thus isolating it from its mother album in my alphabetical listening queue. Perfect logical sense! Oh, and yes, Please and Actually have these Further Listening discs too, but my copies of those albums are older versions, sans the reissue bonus stuff. Will likely get the double-discer of Very though, as there was a lot of kick-ass associated material when that album was released (or so I'm told).

If you're worried about Introspective spoilers (because 'worrying about spoilers' is so trendy right now), the good news is Further Listening: Late '80s doesn't have that much material associated with its main album. Part of that is due to the very nature of Introspective, wherein- nope, not gonna' say it here. Gotta' save some material for later. All you need to know is very few disco mixes and alternate versions of songs from there make it here. Two versions of Domino Dancing (a demo and an alternate), two versions of It's Alright (a seven-inch and a ten-inch), and one one seven-inch mix of Left To My Own Devices. Five tracks may seem a lot, but with fifteen to gorge yourself on, 'tis but a droplet (especially when they're just extended/shortened versions of the album tunes).

As always, it's the b-sides that we're here for, and hoo, are there some doozies. Like that The Sound Of The Atom Splitting, essentially the Boys' stab at an acid house track. Of course, being from the UK, they don't quite get it, the track far too over-produced with studio gimmickry to actually be of much utility in a Chicago club, but those five minutes are among the strangest in their discography (apparently the original cut breaches double-digits in length). I'm more intrigued by One Of The Crowd though, what with its vocoder lyrics, synthy lead, and repetitive rhythmic pulse. It's like, proto-trance, even before The KLF were doing it. Okay, around the same time. Another b-side is Don Juan, which has something of a soft tropical vibe going for it, but in that real synthy Pet Shop Boys sort of way. I honestly wouldn't think much of it, but damn, do they know how to hit a chorus.

Then there's I Get Excited, apparently a tune that appeared on one of the Boys' earliest demo tapes (1983) that included West End Girls, One More Chance and It's A Sin. I don't know what's more fascinating, that they had such killer tunes in mind before even considering making albums, or that they were raiding it for supplemental material so long after the fact.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Dousk - D.I.Y.

Klik Records: 2005

(a Patreon Request from Omskbird)

I recall seeing Dousk's name floating about the dread years of mid-'00s prog music, but never made a lasting impression on me, likely due to a lack of compilation presence. A stray Cattáneo mix, the odd Buddha Bar collection, and occasional name-drops in forum discussions. That's honestly all on me though, because Mr. Douskos had in fact gotten his break with a pile of Bedrock singles, instantly putting him in the discourse among the progressive elite. I wasn't much of a singles guy back then, however, relying on the good ol' DJ mix for my proggy fix, and when one's music is being rinsed out on such prestigious offerings like Steve Gerrard's Thinking Out Loud, DJ Sajem's The Universe, and Side-A's Afterhourz, you can forgive a Western Canadian for letting someone's tracks pass them by. (of course, I rib; jocks like Anthony Pappa and Timewriter also rinsed out Dousk tunes)

In all seriousness, it's a bloody shame I completely missed Dousk on the first go-around (yes, even after Jack had reviewed his follow-up album Kind Of Human on TranceCritic), because D.I.Y. really is the sort of album I'd have adored back-when, but I'm not alone in that. I once asked the TranceAddict community (as knowledgeable a bunch of people regarding music like this as there ever was) about any good 2005 albums, and revisiting the thread, not a single name-drop of this record comes up. That's honestly astounding because for all the belly-aching that place did over Schulzy McProg, D.I.Y. would have provided a powerful talking point the old, classic sound was alive and well. Better than Pole Folder's album, anyway.

If there's any fault I can find in Dousk's debut LP, it's that it feels too long and too front loaded. The first few tracks work a nice, chill Ibizan flavour (Robot may as well be the 'deep house anthem' of this lot), while As If takes the trendy twinkle prog sounds of the day and slows them right da' fuk down. From there, we're off to the races, 'choon' after 'choon' of grade A progressive house music retaining all the best traits of the '90s while giving it a spiffy (then)current sheen. When the proggy breaks of Busmekanik hit, you suddenly realize, holy shit, this album's only half-way done! How can Dousk keep this vibe building?

He honestly can't, so it's just as well he completely changes gear after. Feign serves as an abrupt trip-hop interlude, followed by a serving of serviceable prog-house numbers that feel like D.I.Y.'s easing us through the comedown. Two downtempo tracks after – one more on that experimental tip, the other pure mellow bliss – and golly gee, we have ourselves a proper ol' Journey Album, don't we, folks? Still, I won't deny needing to start D.I.Y. from the middle a couple times for that back-half to stick in my head better. That initial run is just too damn dope for anything after to compare. Not the worst of nitpicks, is it?

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Steven Rutter - From Me To You

FireScope: 2017

I've reviewed a few artists on FireScope now, but still haven't gotten to the head of the label running the show, B12. Um, I'm still technically not here either, but will a B12 member suffice? What's interesting is, if Lord Discogs is to be believed, this particular EP is the first time since the way-early years of British techno that Mr. Rutter has done solo work. That's... almost unfathomable. Has he never wanted to explore a different sound away from his B12 partner? Like, surely the Plaid boys have done separate work in their spare time. Orbital brothers scratching singular itches specific to their distinct muses. Richard D. James splitting into his individual Richard, D., and James components for associated aliases. I suppose 'better later than never', and considering Michael Golding doesn't have much to do with B12 these days anyway, well...

Oh, did I not mention B12 is mostly a Rutter joint now? Heh, how remiss of me.

Anyhow, after launching FireScope with a run of B12 EPs and re-issues (gotta' lure in the old-schoolers, natch), Rutter started branching out with productions under his own name, beginning with this particular EP, From Me To You. I think the reasoning for this was he wanted to explore sounds away from the classic B12 style (as I said!), though if I'm honest, I suspect he was still unsure of exactly where such explorations should go.

True, I'm far from a B12 expert, but I've sampled enough of their sound to know From Me To You is a rather timid first step out from the duo's long shadow. That's not a bad thing though, as you could always count on them for classy, chill techno with a Detroit bent, and if more of that is what Rutter is giving us, all the better.

Howy-an, opener Down And Down does the bleep techno thing of days past, but with spiffy modern production reminding you this stuff still sounds as futuristic as it did nearly three decades ago (holy cow!). Second cut Decliner Box is a deeper, moodier affair, less on the bleep and more on the bloop. It's also only three and a half minutes long, which is seems rather short for any techno of this sort. Was there no other avenues those sinister backing pads could be taken? The Life Giver stretches things out to a whopping five minutes, though too is a moody affair, its defining characteristic away from the usual bleepiness is a muted skippity rhythm. I can't say there's much going on with these tracks, only standing out because they're different from the usually chipper B12 stylee.

The closing seven-minute downtempo piece The Battle Continues does have the vibe of vintage ambient techno, in that the minimalist chill tone would fit right in on Artificial Intelligence. Still, the impression I get is Rutter could use another voice in the studio to flesh out his ideas. Considering how subsequent EPs turned out, I suspect he realized it too.

Monday, April 22, 2019

The Field - The Follower

Kompakt: 2016

There's things worth talking about in The Field's fifth album The Follower. Things like “Axel Willner moves on from shoegaze, does proper techno” and “haha, I'm still dodging his Very Important Album, aren't I?”. I did something this past weekend, however, that's made talking about anything else extremely difficult. It wasn't even my fault! I had no idea it would or could happen. Nor is The Field at fault either – just unfortunate timing in this particular item cropping up in my queue when it did. I suspect if I don't write something about this event, however, it will fester even longer, somehow blocking my ability to connect fingers to keyboard. So I must do what I must do to move forward. I urge you all to skip the next paragraph, and rejoin me in the following one for my real review of The Field's The Follower.

So I went to a tech-house night on the weekend, as the dude who promoted the party said good things about the Berlin DJ he was bringing in. He always says good things about the Berlin DJs he brings in, but I was bored so went anyway. There I stood at my usual hunch just to the side of the front of the crowd, people watching while bobbing my head as I drank my pale ale in a can. Some decent deep-tech kept the vibe going, though nothing out of the ordinary, much less nabbing my attention in one of those “WHAT IS THIS!?” moments. Then, I heard it. A tinny, spacey rhythm, slightly off time, like out of the Golden Era of space disco. No, wait, it is from the Golden Era of space disco! Is it..? Yes, there it is, the cosmic 'aahhs', the triumphant organ refrain, and the hilariously warbly, ripped from pulp sci-fi pitched-down vocoder announcing the arrival of The Ultimate Warlord! Oh my God, I never thought I'd hear this tune out live, much less at a tech-house night. Do any of these people in the crowd know this track? They sure do now! Dammit though, that perfect context burned the song into my brain as it never had before. How can poor Axel Willner compete with such perfect Canadian disco cheese?

*whew* Okay, got that out of my system. The Follower, then.

The titular opener features some cool acid work from The Field before easing us into his usual brand of ultra-loopy tranced-out flow, where most of the album follows suite. Soft Streams and Raise The Dead get deeper in the dub techno zone, with the former a more abrasive than the latter. We all gotta' mellow out at the end though, which The Field does for the fourteen-minute closer Reflecting Lights. Another solid outing from Mr. Willner, then, and a definite have for those who prefer The Field's more techno outings. Unfortunately though, there's not much else to say about it, especially when one has The Ultimate Warlord imposing his Sword Of Light upon ye'.

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Fires Of Ork - The Fires Of Ork

Fax +49-69/450464/Biophon Records: 1993/2000/2018

Hot damn, Geir's gone and done it! Like, I saw no reason why he couldn't if he wanted to, as the Namlook estate's been quite generous in sharing music rights with previous collaborators of Mr. Kaulmann. For some reason though, I felt The Fires Of Ork was the holy grail of Biosphere projects, the original album released between Microgravity and Patashnik, when Geir still had an inclination towards techno's rhythmic pulse. He was so swift in moving on from music with a little dancefloor groove, it's clear it wasn't a sound he was terribly fond of revisiting, even in a reissued format.

Even the whole Fires Of Ork project seemed nothing more than a one-off pairing, Pete Namlook and Biosphere heading off in rather different paths shortly after. Pete had found his niche (relentless work-rate, endless collaborations, label management), Geir had found his (icy minimalist ambient with expansive field recordings), and that was that, The Fires Of Ork just another of the multitude of very interesting projects to have passed through the Fax+ studios.

And an interesting album The Fires Of Ork is, if for no other reason to hear just how much each performer's style meshes, mashes, and mixes with the other. The titular opener and closer does the ambient 'bleep' techno thing that you'd associate with Phase 1 Biosphere, but has that spacey trancey vibe so distinct of early-era Namlook (plus: ear-wormy Blade Runner sample – dude loved him some Blade Runner samples). Meanwhile, Gebirge attempts a vintage twenty-minute Fax+ ambient excursion, but Pete and Geir's sounds and arrangements are so minimalist, it doesn't feel like it goes much of anywhere. Faring better is the straight-forward light trance of Talk To The Stars, and the eighteen-minute chill-out session of The Facts Of Life, where the distinct sounds of each player actually complement each other as though hearing two musicians feeding off their contributions.

While The Fires Of Ork was interesting for what it added to the Fax+ legacy, it was a small surprise that Pete and Geir teamed-up again in the year 2000 for The Fires Of Ork 2. Though not incompatible, it was clear from The Fires Of Ork there wasn't much room for music exploration between their differing ambient styles. Half a decade on, and both definitely having evolved since the early '90s, where would their muses meet for another session?

Leaving the 'bleep techno' well behind, that's for certain. Compared to the paranoid sci-fi tone of the first album, The Fires Of Ork 2 is very mellow, Biosphere's open, minimalist approach mostly dominating. Pete works in some nice pad work in In Heaven, while Sky Lounge sounds like we're chilling near an Ibizan shore with the rings of Saturn hovering over the shoreline, but we're in pure mood music territory with this album. Well, except Nouvelles Machines, which has a weird dubby, clicky noise with sparse electronic bleepy-beeps befitting a retro sci-fi movie. Can't shake those 'bleep techno' roots, I guess.

The Circular Ruins and Mystified - Fantastic Journey

dataObscura: 2013

As I said, you can't go three CDs into dataObscura's discography without bumping into Anthony Kerby. As it should be, since it's his print and all. I don't know enough about the man's history to gauge whether The Circular Ruins or Nunc Stans is his primary outlet though, as they both have comparable numbers; nor have I listened to enough to gauge what differentiates each project from the other. As mentioned in my initial introduction to Mr. Kerby, he has quite the extensive catalog of music.

And yet, he may pale compared to the chap he's collaborating with on this particular release, minimalist dark-drone auteur Thomas Park. This Mystified handle lists over three-hundred releases alone with Lord Discogs, and you can add a hundred more including his various other projects. Most of this was accomplished within the past fifteen years, with items out on labels such as Treetrunk Records, Latex Records, Mbira Records, Webbed Hand Records, Enough Records, Phage Tapes, First Fallen Star, Bone Structure, We Are All Ghosts, Smell The Stench, and DumpsterScore. I'm sensing a theme here.

Anyhow, Park had worked with Kerby before, on a Nunc Stans album, so given their relentless work-rate, it makes sense they'd reconvene for another project – law of averages, and all that. This time though, they had a very specific concept in mind, and if the cover art or title wasn't a dead giveaway, you'd better turn in whatever nerd cred you thought you had. This some old school sci-fi stuff, my friends. Though I do have to ask, is that the official design of Captain Nemo's Nautilus, or just the Disney movie version? Or was the Disney model faithful to the original design? Lots of conflicting GIS returns on the matter.

While this isn't strictly a Jules Verne love-in, his works are certainly a heavy inspiration. There's also nods to other retro sci-fi outings like Forbidden Planet, and Star Trek (man, that's a deep dive with Beyond The Farthest Star), with music that befits the score of any of those properties. Naturally, opener Twenty Thousand Leagues works the cavernous dub drone as minimalist pads pierce the layers of sonic murk, all the while light tones flicker by like spritely jellyfish floating past your submersible. The World Beneath features the sort of minimalist musique concrete sounds as found in the actual 'score' for Forbidden Planet, while the track Forbidden Planet features creepy, pulsing synth sounds and drones. Meanwhile, Mysterious Island edges closer to the domain of modern classical synth drone (melody!), while Beyond The Farthest Star has something a more empty and spaced-out in mind. No matter where we go in these fantastic journeys though, we must all eventually take The Voyage Home, the final track almost melancholic in its use of orchestral strings, synth drones, and distant mechanical breaths.

Fantastic Journey isn't an essential listen – too much dawdle for long stretches – but I cannot deny coming away from it feeling like I've seen things you wouldn't believe.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Various - fabric 14: Stacey Pullen

Fabric: 2004

*cover art care of fabric's “chimeras are kewl” period*

Time trudges on, and fabric CDs continue their ever-gradual descent into super-affordable second-hand market territory. Why, I can actually be picky-choosy over which ones I pick up on the cheap now! No longer must I subject myself to dry, sandpaper minimal-tech mixes, when even the good stuff can be had for less than a fiver (while the bad stuff is pennies!). Thus I was giddy over seeing this Stacey Pullen set hit the Amazons. Sure, it's no Andrew Weatherall or John Peel or Carl Craig, but it ain't no Jon Marsh or Akufen or DJ Spinbad either. Just kidding, I don't know whether any of those are held in super high-esteem either. I mean, it's not like I've seen them as super cheap as other fabric CDs, including very recent ones.

I haven't had much opportunity to talk up Stacey Pullen, in that he hasn't dabbled in the producer's chair too often. A smattering of singles across a half-dozen aliases throughout the '90s, as any good Detroit native is obligated to do, but the DJing circuit is where he made his name, hitting up a few of the Very Important series in doing so: DJ-Kicks, RA, 2020 Vision, Balance. Wait, Balance? Isn't that a prog and tech-house series? What's a Detroit techno guy doing there?

Therein lies one of Mr. Pullen's claims to fame, a willingness to pull (herrr...) from genres not typically seen as Detroit Pure. Not to any radical sense, mind you, but enough such that he can play to many a fussy audience while still dropping that Motor City knowledge on their unsuspecting earholes. Just kidding, I'm almost certain folks going to see a touring Stacey fully expect it. Thus, it should come as no surprise that Fabric 14 sounds very much of the club it's promoting. A quick run through some bouncy 'ethnic' house to start, some deeper cuts with the obligatory soliloquy thrown in, then a jaunt through dubby tech-house that could be called prog if played by a prog DJ, but isn't because Mr. Pullen could never be a prog DJ, even on a Balance mix. There's a Peace Division track in this set, is what I'm getting at.

Stacey will forever be a Detroit guy though, and after spending half the CD hooking you in with the deep, dark, dub tech-prog, he abruptly changes gears into Moodyman's festive disco funk Music People. Then it's off to an older cut of Men With Sticks' proto tech-house cut 3rd Eye. They, um, aren't from Detroit. Neither is DiY (UK), Oscar (French), Dave Angel or Solid Groove (both UK). Ah, gotta' play the local heroes, I guess. Lots of deep tech in this final stretch too, but with some powa' in d'em beats. Overall, a fun CD highlighting much of what folks dig Pullen's eclectic style, and a worthy addition to the fabric tech-house legacy. Now, about that Balance set...

Monday, April 15, 2019

sgnl_fltr - Exhalo

Databloem: 2008

As I perused the Databloem catalogue for a half-dozen items or so, I couldn't just rely on eye-catching cover-art for all my purchases – not every release of theirs is a shade of blue or features a picture of Saturn. Nay, sometimes good ol' name recognition does the trick, and the label has many artist names I recognize indeed. Mick Chillage, Lingua Lustra, Oophoi, Mathias Grassow, Nacht Plank, and on and on. I prefer digging a little deeper though, checking out artists I'm certain I know from somewhere, but can't quite recall. Absolutely I'm talking sgnl_fltr. Something about that name incites positive feels, but considering he's a dub techno guy, I couldn't remember where. Perhaps a Silent Season album? No, that can't be it, Mr. Kreutzfeldt essentially mothballing the project before the turn of the decade. He's since focused his efforts on Periskop, which features dark industrial dub and ...submarine noise? Ooh, bathymetric bass!

As always, The Lord That Knows All enlightened me. Turns out I first came across sgnl_fltr way back in my earliest explorations of Ultimae Records, specifically as featured in Oxycanta 2: Winter Bloom Boogaloo. The track, Waters, also earned an Ace Track nod, and I even had the audacity to call it akin to old-school trance. Compared to what passed itself as trance in the year 2007, okay, sure, but that sure was a stretch on my part way back when. Just goes to show how desperate I was to hear 'authentic proper trance' in those dire mid-'00s years. Would even accept some dub techno as a worthy substitute.

Anyhow, Exhalo was the album sgnl_fltr released after that Ultimae appearance, so seems appropriate I'd end up stumbling upon it after the fact. Would likely have been the album I'd have picked up had I known there was any out there to be had. Not sure what I'd have made of it back in 2008 though, my interest in dub techno definitely on the wane at the time due to market saturation. It wasn't as bad as minimal-tech, but DeepChord left an undeniable wake of copycats after his success. Still, Mr. Kreutzfeldt had been making similar music thoughout the '00s, Exhalo his fifth to that point (he'd release another with Stadtgruen the following year), so he ridin' no coattails on this wagon, nosiree (too... many... cliches...)

I do know I'd have been initially disappointed, just because I wouldn't be expecting what I hear on Exhalo. That would have been then, however, and when I threw it on in the today-times, I quite enjoyed this, in a very low-key manner. Absolutely it's another dub techno album with some broken-beat glitch thrown in, but man, the headphone space this creates is lush. Par for the course in this genre, and certainly extensively explored this past decade. Sometimes though, you just want to get lost in endless sonic space as crunchy micro-beats with thudding bass cruise along, and Exhalo provided that right when I was ready to hear it again. Timing is everything.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Gary Martin - Escape From South Warren

Motech: 2015

Sometimes I think I know just how deep the Detroit talent well goes, then I come across a guy like Gary Martin and his Teknotika Records. Dude's been active since the early '90s, and if his name was ever name-dropped among that Second Generation of Detroit talents (you know who), I totally missed it. Nor have I seen his aliases of Gigi Galaxy and Mole People. The lone track of his I have appeared on Rub 'n Tug's contribution to the fabric series, plus a remix on DJ 3000's Galactic Caravan. In fact, the only reason I got this album is because it came bundled with a Motech Bandcamp deal. I could easily have gone on living in ignorance of the man had he not added to the Motech catalog. Maybe I'd have stumbled upon Gigi Galaxy, if I'd kept dedicated tabs on Eye Q, but still, pretty sad on my part that it's taken so long for me to actually 'discover' Gary Martin. Needs a more eye-grabbing name.

I fixture of Detroit's scene he is though, and one that carved a tidy little niche for himself at that. When many of his peers prided themselves on techno purity and such, Mr. Martin saw no qualms in infusing aspects of diva house, Afro funk, and Latin soul into the mix. Heck, some of his earliest singles thread the line between house and techno in much the same way classics like Inner City's Big Life did, and as time went on, the tribal-techno vibes grew ever more prevalent. Well gosh, tribal-techno sounds right up my alley, so why have I not heard of this guy before? Must be one of those 'doesn't license his tracks out for DJ mixes' Detroit purity factors. They can be stingy about such things.

As can be expected of a Detroit techno guy, Gary's released a pile of singles and EPs over the years, but has generally shied away from the album format. There was Viva La Difference in 2002, Mole People 5 in 2007, and finally this here Escape From South Warren from 2015. Oh, and Another Place, though that was more a DJ mix compilation of his stuff up to that point. And honestly, probably a better starting point into Gary Martin's work than Escape From South Warren. Not that this album is without merit. I just feel I'm not getting a proper sampling of what's made him a lasting veteran within Detroit's scene here.

For sure there's plenty of variety. The 'sermon house' track in We Get Down. The squiggly acid tech-house option in My Medicine. The deep 'n soulful cut in I Don't Know Why (ah, the Detroit saxophone, my favourite saxophone). The steady tension builder in Stellar Caravan. The broken funk wonk of Eastward Course (oh God, where's that rhythm come from; I know it from somewhere!). All serviceable tracks, these are. After hearing some of his older stuff though, I can't help but miss the thrilling tribal tempos of yore.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Ajna - An Era Of Torment

Reverse Alignment: 2017

When I first picked this up, I didn't think I was getting an Ajna album, even though his name is right there on the cover. Truth is, as I browsed through Reverse Alignment's catalogue during another label splurge, I had my eye out for SiJ, whose collaborative album Queer Reminiscence with Item Caligo had also appeared on the dark ambient print. I knew there were other albums from him on Reverse Alignment (specifically The Lost World ...more on that at a later date), which is the only reason I can give for how I'd mistake Ajna for SiJ. Okay, there's a 'J' in both their aliases too, but geez, they don't even share the same amount of syllables. I suppose I also recognized the name 'Ajna' from somewhere before, and with SiJ most prominently on my mind at the time, my brain did one of those lazy word association thingies it likes to do.

Turns out I did review an Ajna release – or rather, a collaborative album with Dronny Darko, Black Monolith. I... honestly feel kinda' bad that I forgot about Ajna's participation in that project, especially as I did a decent write-up of his background there. I've not much more to add here either, in that his output's slowed down some since that release. This particular album was the follow-up to Black Monolith, and he put out another LP with Cyclic Law the next year (Lucid Intrusion), which entices me to claim all he needs to complete a dark ambient super-label hat-trick is something out on Cryo Chamber. That would be silly to claim though, as I have no idea whether Reverse Alignment, Cyclic Law, and Cryo Chamber actually do make up some unholy trinity of top-tier dark ambient output. They're just the three most prominent ones I know.

If you've somehow forgotten the Ajna stylee as described in the Black Monolith review, the quick refresher blurb is he's mostly about those wide-screen soundscapes and drones, making you feel detached and isolated from your immediate meatspace. You could be sitting in the middle of a bustling park in the middle of a summer afternoon, but with Ajna's compositions playing on headphones, you'll swear you're as alone as the last human on Earth.

Thus introspection is the name of the game in An Era Of Torment, where crippling anxiety and senseless self-doubt can create lifetime prisons within our own psyches. Ajna spends six tracks exploring this theme, mostly through melancholy pads permeating layers of whispy timbre. It can sound desolate at times, but never so empty as a lot of this sort of drone goes. Field recordings like shuffling feet and spoken dialog help retain some sense of comfort, and the album does end on the subtlest of uplifting tones. Ajna sure makes you earn any positive feels though, which seems appropriate given the subject matter. Best save An Era Of Torment for those evenings when you don't mind walking endless distances in the dark of a cool night.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Darren Nye - Emotional Intelligence

FireScope: 2017

This label hasn't released a huge amount of items since B12 launched it a few years back, which is fine because FireScope clearly aims at having each record be something special. Trouble is, and I know this sounds utterly entitled, I feel they could be just a little more. Artwork, lovely! Presentation, wonderful! Music, top grade! Amount of music ...eh, always an EP, never an LP. And I get it, FireScope mostly a digital-and-vinyl outlet – it's great they offer a CD option at all. Whenever I order something from them though, and have to pay that extra-extra shipping cost from the U.K., I just wish I was getting more music for my money, y'know? Again, total nonsense whine here, especially when you compare to what vinyl enthusiasts pay for shipping on the regular. Still, I can't be the only one hoping Brexit happens soon, so the British pound collapses and it won't be so expensive ordering things from- eh? You say the Canadian dollar would likely fall too if that happens? Well, forget it then, Brexit's a silly idea.

Anyhoo, Darren Nye (not the science guy – sorry, sorry, I promise that's the only time I'll do that). He first emerged a decade ago on Organica Music Labworks with a trio of digital EPs, but didn't seem to make much hay from it. However, one John Shima also had an EP out on that label, so when Mr. Shima got an item out on FireScope, I assume he put in a good word for Mr. Nye (being an admitted B12 fan also likely helped grease those wheels), and soon enough Emotional Intelligence emerged on on the label. The experience must have re-invigorated Darren's music-making passion, as he's been on an absolute tear of productivity in the year since, establishing his own SpaceTime digital-label to release material, including aliases such as PlanktonWarrior and The Elusive Man (I understand that reference!).

As for this particular EP, truth is I've not much more to add that I haven't already said on previous FireScope reviews. Though there are differences in how each producer approaches the craft, there's definitely something of a 'house style' running through them all, which is fine. If a label run by the guys behind B12 are comfortable releasing music that sounds like B12 and music by artists who've been inspired by B12 sounding like B12, then that's their prerogative. Works for those of us that dig that B12 stylee, it does.

Opener Things She Said works that spacey, chipper ambient techno vibe, Emulated Emotion goes deeper into the synth pad washes and reverb effects (burble acid!), while Plasmid Soul's rhythm touches closer to the realms of electro than Detroit techno (it's a very thin border, almost a Venn Diagram). Fragments has a thicker, broken beat going for it, a bit rather experimental compared to the other tracks, but Disconnected Reality is a straight-up chill fest, half-tempo dubby rhythms and spaced-out pad work. So retro, so lush.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The Prodigy - Invaders Must Die

Take Me To The Hospital: 2009

(a Patreon Request from Philoi)

This honestly felt like a 'do or die' outing for The Prodigy. They had their stumble, but after so much earlier success, plus the long gap from Fat Of The Land to Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned (what single between?), it seemed appropriate such a thing would happen to Liam Howlett's troupe. That all gotten out of the system, reflection on past mistakes done and dusted, and a re-assessment of what properly made The Prodigy of old fire so brilliantly while putting together the Their Law retrospective, everyone knew there were no more excuses to be had. Let's hear what Liam's got cooking for a new era of post-Pendulum rock-n-rave antics, and whether they still fit in a scene long since removed from whatever the '90s offered.

And the answer was... inconclusive. I recall Invaders Must Die had just as many fans as it had detractors, equal amounts of folk claiming this was the return to form everyone had been waiting for as there were those bemoaning The Prodigy were now trend-chasers rather than innovators. I admit I was more in the latter camp at the time of its release, hence my general disinterest in anything they released after, but that was a decade ago. We've had plenty of time now to digest its lasting impact, where it fits in The Prodigy's greater canon, and whether any of its obvious trend-chasing was really so bad given its surrounding context. Time has been kinder to Invaders Must Die than I was expecting, is what I'm getting at, but it doesn't negate the problems the album had when it first dropped.

Right from the jump, you sense something's still not quite right in Prodigy-Land, a stiff, jerky titular cut that sounds far too reliant on Pendulum's brand of screachy d'n'b to have ever come from the mind of someone that created brilliant openers like Break & Enter and Smack My Bitch Up. Follow-up Omen doesn't fare much better, and if old-school fans had deleted/thrown Invaders Must Die out after that, I wouldn't have blamed them.

Sneakily though, Liam starts luring you into this (then) contemporary sound of bosh by throwing in winking nods to his raving roots: rasta vocals in Thunder, vintage synth stabs in Take Me To The Hospital. It's so subtly effective a nostalgia trigger that when the full-blown throwback track Warrior's Dance hits, you're right back in that zealous vibe from the days of yore'. Small wonder this was hailed as The Prodigy track everyone had been waiting a decade for, though how it fared with the Pendulum kids, I haven't a clue.

What I do know is Invaders Must Die doesn't sound too bad for its final stretch, somehow looser and more confident in what it's trying to be. Maybe it's residual buzz from Warrior's Dance, or maybe Liam finally figured out where Prodigy fit in that new rave world. It likely wasn't enough to convince Jilted purists, but worked enough for the group to carry on a decade longer.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Nunc Stans - Elementa

dataObscura: 2016

Lord Discogs lists dataObscura a spin-off from Databloem, and it appears the chap who got the spin started was Anthony Paul Kerby. I'm reviewing his Nunc Stans project in particular here, but he's released material as The Circular Ruins and Lammergeyer as well, with dataObscura his main label of output. He still pops in with occasional releases with daddy Databloem, plus the odd item elsewhere (Construct, Musical Philosophy, ping things), but by and large, this is his home. And hoo, has he kept it stuffed, Nunc Stans alone providing the dataObscura discography with sixteen releases. Meanwhile, The Circular Ruins is featured with fourteen releases on this print, and Lammergeyer adding eight more releases to the label's catalogue. And let's not forget Anthony's collaboration with Robert Davies as The Winterhouse, providing an additional eight albums more (speaking of Robert Davies, hoo boy, is that ever a discography as well).

If you've been keeping count, this all adds up to a shit-tonne of music from Anthony Kerby over the past two decades. How can I do any of this man's work justice by diving nearly blind into this one particular album I only got because the cover art intrigued me? Probably can't, but as I have picked up a few more of his releases in a recent Databloem/dataObscura splurge, I should gain at least some insight into where his muse wanders in no time.

For now, I have the cold opening of Elementa, a generally minimalist, modern classical drone outing. Not so frigid as the mountain peak would lead you to believe, though imparting a sense of desolate grandeur just the same, as strings and synths carry on in layers of timbre that are at once dense, yet distinct. It doesn't leave much room for melody, making such harmonic moments all the more poignant between the atonal movements (to say nothing of the sparse percussion occasionally piercing the thick musical atmosphere).

Does Elementa ever take its time in getting to where it's going, though. By the album's end, it almost sounds as though a veil has been lifted, a misty fog once obscuring the scenery revealing just how much splendour surrounds you, though you must suffer through some early impenetrable murk to arrive there. It's certainly a 'rewards repeated listens' type of album, but when it takes three tracks to feel like you're making any musical progress, it can be challenging sticking through the duration without the mind wandering.

And that got me thinking about other drone ambient albums I've listened to, and what makes some stand out more than others. As with so much music presented in an LP format, those opening moments are critical in hooking you in, something catching your attention just enough that it lingers in your memory, hinting at similar ideas or themes await. It's a subtle thing, but I think necessary for albums like this to leave a lasting impression. Instead, Elementa has some intriguing moments, but doesn't retain much after.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Ambidextrous - Echoes Of Science

Fantasy Enhancing: 2018

Ambient techno and all of its mutations over the years has kept a rather steady consistency in how it sounds, but one can generally tell what era it was produced in (hint: if there's light glitch, it's almost certainly post-Millennium). If you want to stretch even further back, and include early Berlin-School works in the 'sequenced spacey synth music' discussion, then the decade demarcations become ever clearer. For sure you can hear '70s-sounding compositions in the 21st Century, but the influences are always apparent - typically direct homages, and for good reason. The equipment used to create music in the '70s and '80s retain distinct characteristics we'll forever (and a day) associate with those eras, so may as well not even hide it. If you want to make a track that uses archaic gear, no sense sullying that vintage sound with modern production trickery. Besides, if you try glitchin' that modular Moog a bunch, you'll sound too current. The eras are just incompatible, mang!

And yet, Ambidextrous just may have come closest in accomplishing this feat, at least from the amount I've heard. Mr. Nick Zavriev has been around for a couple decades now, but didn't get much exposure outside his native Russia for several years. He floated from Russian label to Russian label, self-released a couple items, and may have remained in general obscurity until Carpe Sonum Records got their hands on a couple tracks for a couple compilations, leading to a full-blown LP release called Geek Mythology. Truthfully, I've had my eye on that one for a while (d'at cover art!), but seemed a bit too predictable for my tastes, so have spent time exploring that label's other options first. Anyhow, getting recognized by Carpe Sonum meant Ambidextrous got noticed by Lee Norris, appearing on compilations for ...txt and Neo Ouija. And when Norris launched Fantasy Enhancing, Mr. Zavriev was tapped for its second album (label owner always gets First).

As for how Echoes Of Science sounds, let's get back to those incompatible eras of ambient techno, and how Ambidextrous somehow makes them compatible without losing their distinctiveness. First, the rhythms are clearly modern, simple crisp beats with light skittery-glitch touches. The melodic and acid leads have more of a '90s feel to them though, which honestly seems par for the course with a lot of music released in Lee Norris' sphere of influence now. Meanwhile, backing effects and treatments sound rather Berlin-School, with occasional retro synth leads thrown in for good measure. None of this feels like each are competing for sonic space though. Instead, imagine a performer from each era jamming together, complementing their roles in crafting each track. Hey, it's been done too – Pete Namlook and Klause Schulz springs to mind – but by a single producer? I struggle to think of many, if any. In a scene that can be overstuffed with copy-cat artists, it takes something special to stand out from the pack, and by g'ar, I believe Ambidextrous has found his niche: modern-contemporary-retro!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Pinch & Shackleton - Pinch & Shackleton

Honest Jon's Records: 2011

(a Patreon Request)

It wouldn't surprise me if this collaboration between Pinch and Shackleton had been counted upon to rescue dubstep from the clutches of bro-dom when it first came out (yes, another 'great hope' – there were a few of those). Here were two of the genre's founding fathers, a pair of producers who took the early concepts of dubby, minimalist bass music into mutant strains few knew what to make of at the time. It had those half-step rhythms and powerful low frequencies though, plus was getting rinsed out in haunts throughout the London underground, so it must be dubstep. Until it wasn't anymore, because dubstep officially became something almost diametrically opposite to this, save some scene lineage. Ah, reminds me of the good ol' trance-eurotrance wars, it does.

In any event, despite coming up through the dubstep ranks along similar paths, these 'future garage' guys never really crossed paths – probably didn't help that Shackleton had shacked up in Berlin while Pinch had pitched his tent in Bristol. Also, Shackleton had his own label to essentially self-release material with Appleblim (Skull Disco), while providing the odd tune for tech-house prints like Crosstown Rebels and Perlon. Meanwhile, Pinch was releasing stuff on his own Tectonic, with additional contributions to leftfield rhythms label Planet Mu. They had to cross roads eventually though (releasing fabric mixes about a year apart maybe helped), and thus the deed was done with this self-titled album, surprisingly both their official sophomore efforts in the long-player format (so sayeth Lord Discogs).

Even with but a skimming of each producer's output to this point, Pinch & Shackleton delivered mostly what I expected out of such a pairing. Surprisingly though, it offered something more, or rather something familiar that may have been incidentally arrived by both players. Or perhaps not, the roots of such dub production a genetic through-line since UK ravers were first transposing the sounds of Jamaican transplants into all manner of house, techno, downtempo, and 'ardcore. Still, I couldn't deny, hearing those tribal rhythms and samples, the stripped back songcraft, and the desire to explore between the sonic spaces, that I was getting some serious Sandoz and Bandulu flashbacks on this album (because it always comes back to them for my dubby tribal techno influences; PWoG, too).

I'm hesitant to say it's a one-for-one comparison though, as many tracks here could only have been made in a post-dubstep climate. The urgent opening build of Torn & Submerged, for instance, or the gnarly bass growl of Burning Blood, are the sorts of sonic markers that have been UK bass staples for over a decade now. Tracks that edge closer to tribal-techno's realm though (Jellybones, Levitation, Rooms Within A Room) could have been obscure '90s cuts, though definitely with finer production on hand. Yes, no matter how 'gritty and stripped' Pinch and Shackleton's aesthetic is to the modern ear, those overwhelming bass frequencies remain quite contemporary. Ain't nothing from 'back when' sounding this vast in my headphone space, nosiree.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Various - Drum & Bass Arena: 20 Years Of D&B 1996-2016

Drum&BassArena: 2016

Wow, twenty years. What's crazy is I still vividly recall listening to the Arena's early online streams off the computer of that one friend who always had the best internet connections. Okay, 'vividly' is stretching things. I don't remember specifics, but I do recall how cool it was to hear live broadcasts of d'n'b shows half a world away. You'd almost think our modern age of neigh unlimited HD audio insta-streams in 4K clarity would render a website like DrumAndBassArena moot now, but there's something to be said for having an established brand in the overstuffed promotions market. Barring a total and complete collapse of the internet as we currently know it, I see no reason why the DnB-A won't be around to celebrate a thirtieth anniversary. Well, at least a twenty-fifth.

Naturally, a two-decade birthday party can't be complete without a pile of music to celebrate with, and we get three CDs worth to gorge ourselves on. Seems like a straight-forward exercise, rounding up a pile of d'n'b bangers for an extended party, but I was curious how it'd compare with the 10 Years rinse-out. With Adam F and Grooverider handling the decks there, that outing accomplished a remarkable feat in highlighting all the upfront developments the jungle scene was going through (so much Pendulum influence ...just so much), while honouring all that had made 'ardcore such a dynamic sound in its younger days. A tough act to follow, is what I'm saying, and by the looks of things, the Arena didn't even try bringing in any A-list jocks for their 20 Years rinse-out. No credits for the DJ mixes, at least.

CD1 is billed as Music For The Masses, and with an opening one-two punch of Pendulum's Tarantula and Sub Focus' Rock It, it sure is that. Good news is it isn't all Pendulum-styled d'n'b all the way through (they show up again with Vault, because of course), and things even go darkstep mid-set (Spor! Hive! Phace! Other single-syllable names!). Things turn back to the cheesy sing-along anthems by the end, but eh, it is music for the masses. This set is honest. Meanwhile, CD2 provides the old-school tunes, or Recollections, and while most of the veteran names show up (Dillinja, Ed Rush, Optical, Total Science, Adam F, etc.), it's still not as good as Grooverider's 'classics' set. How could it be?

CD3 is a welcome surprise though. Billed as Deeper Cuts, it unearths a bevy of overlooked, well, deeper cuts. Microfunk, soul-step, atmospheric jungle, and all that good stuff, with Calibre, Marcus Intalex, dBridge, and Netsky among the names I recognize in the tracklist. Not many others though. Ivy Lab? Bachelors Of Science? Technimatic? Sabre, Stray & Halogenix featuring Frank Carter III? Who are all these guys? In any event, if 20 Years is your typical night of d'n'b personified, Deeper Cuts is that classy afterhours session, where the vibe remains brisk but mellow and chill. Good stuff for old-timers like me, by g'ar.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Spacetime Continuum - Double Fine Zone

Astralwerks: 1999

Forget all that ye' may think thy knoweth of Spacetime Continuum, for naught, it doth apply to Jonah Sharp's final album with said nomme de plume (um, yo'). This is a very different album from Sea Biscuit, is what I'm saying. Heck, it's also quite different from Emit Ecaps, though the Detroit techno pulse that dominated that album is still felt in Double Fine Zone. All that ambient techno and spacey chill-out and IDM explorations that marked much of his '90s output though, forget about it. For Mr. Sharp, he's discovered a sound that other techno producers had discovered, and wasn't afraid of having his stab at it as well. I am, of course, talking about all that jazz, man! Because if Carl Craig and Model 500 could go jazz, why not Spacetime Continuum?

Still, even in the annals of techno detours, this one comes quite out of leftfield. I can't say I've taken in all of Jonah Sharps musical output, but I see little indications in prior releases that he'd go this direction. Like, did Carl Craig plant some seeds of curiosity when he did those remixes for Kairo? Mixmaster Morris' foray into the realms of Ninja Tune inspiring his friend to attempt the same? Brian Iddenden just happened to be crashing on Jonah's couch and, having a saxophonist on hand, why not get some studio time out of him too? Whatever the case, going jazz is what Jonah wanted, so going jazz is what Jonah got'ed.

And he ain't pussy-footin' around it either, opening track The Ring featuring a prominent smooth jazz solo from Mr. Iddenden over chill, bloopy electro sounds. You can almost feel the warmth of cigarette smoke caress your cheek as you lounge outside a futuristic cafe. Follow-up Microjam gets back on that Carl Craig techno tip, but there's a fair amount of saxophone solos after. Rhodes keyboards too, if I'm being fair, and those are good fun for yours truly, but man, that saxophone... It's fine, I guess, but I've made clear it's an instrument that does weird, uncomfortable things to my ears, and ol' Brian's performances don't do much to alleviate that. A couple tracks here and there are fine, just not so much album's worth.

It's not just the Rhodes and saxophone contributions throwing this so firmly into nu-jazz territory. Sharp also makes use of sampled drums, giving many of his tracks that live-performance feel you'd expect out of, say, The Cinematic Orchestra. Seriously, did he make this in hopes of Ninja Tune noticing? It's almost a shock when you hear techno beats again in Double Fine Zone, even when coupled with the saxophone and Rhodes licks. Even more shocking to hear is Different Bend, a track that sounds like it could have been on an old school trance compilation. In the year 1999! Damn, what I wouldn't give to hear a ten-minute version of it, but Different Bend is one of the shortest tracks here. Such a tease.

Monday, April 1, 2019

ACE TRACKS: March 2019

I feel like I'm gonna' be taking more of those 'week long' breaks in the future. Not so much to stave of potential burn-out, but with a regular work schedule that's pushed my 'wake-up' time to no later than 3am now, it makes finding prime writing time tricky. Wasn't so bad when it was still dark out at 6pm, and I could hit the hay plenty early, thus waking up super-duper earlier to write before work. Now that the days grow longer though, and our government has forced an extra hour of evening daylight upon us (still working on my “Keep Noon Sun At Noon Position” protest sign), I'm finding getting that Prime Writing Time ever more elusive. Sometimes I can do it late afternoon, but not too late, otherwise the sun hits my pad on the downswing, and the mugginess makes thinking words difficult as all hell. And I can't just go to bed early 'cause, well, too bright out. It's taking some adjusting to find the right groove again, but it shall be done, oh yes, it shall be done. I hope.

That ramble out of the way, here's some ACE TRACKS for the month of March in this cold year of Two Thousand Nineteen.


Full track list here.


MISSING ALBUMS:
Axs - Arctic Circle
Autumn Of Communion - Autumn Of Communion 5
Autumn Of Communion - Autumn Of Communion 6
Various - Audioworks Various Artists V1
Various - Fade Records Presents: Audiotour - Chris Fortier

Percentage Of Hip-Hop: 15%
Percentage Of Rock: 0%
Most “WTF?” Track: Any of the Tristan tracks, but only if you glance at the cover art.

A nice mix of music on here. Some uptempo stuff, some downtempo stuff, some leftfield stuff, and some conventional stuff. Only thing really missing is the rock representation, but glancing at my current queue, it's gonna' be a long while indeed before the ol' six-stringer makes a prominent appearance again.

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 Anduin Andy C anecdotes Aniplex Anjunabeats Annibale Records 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 B12 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 Castroe 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 Crystal Moon 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 Pemberton 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 De-tuned Dead Coast 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 Electronic Music Guide Electrovoya Elektra Elektrolux em:t EMC update EMI Emiliana Torrini 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 Exitab experimental Eye Q Records Ezdanitoff 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 Frans de Waard 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 Hexstatic 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 Howie B Huey Lewis & The News Human Blue Hybrid Hybrid Leisureland Hymen Records Hyperdub Hypertrophy hypnotic records I Awake I-Cube i! Records I.F.O.R. I.R.S. Records Iboga Records Ice Cube Ice H2o Records ICE MC IDM Igorrr illbient Imperial Dancefloor Imploded View In Charge In Trance We Trust Incoming Incubus indie rock Industrial Infected Mushroom Infinite Guitar influence records Infonet Ink Midget Inner Ocean Records Insane Clown Posse Inspectah Deck Instinct Ambient Instra-Mental Inter-Modo Interchill Records Internal International Deejays Gigolo Interscope Records Intimate Productions Intuition Recordings ISBA Music Entertainment Ishkur Ishq Island Records Islands Of Light Italians Do It Better italo disco italo house Item Caligo J-pop Jack Moss Jacob Newman Jafu Jake Stephenson Jam and Spoon Jam El Mar James Blake James Horner James Murray James Zabiela Jamie Jones Jamie Myerson Jamie Principle Jamiroquai Javelin Ltd. 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 Christie 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 Kwook 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 Le Moors 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. Madonna Magda Magik Muzik Mahiane Mali Mammoth Records Mantacoup Marc Simz Marcel Dettmann Marco Carola Marco V Marcus Intalex Mark Farina Mark Norman Mark Pritchard Markus Schulz Marshmello Martin Cooper Martin Nonstatic Märtini Brös Marvin Gaye Maschine Massive Attack Masta Killa Matthew Dear Max Graham maximal Maxx MCA Records McProg Meanwhile Meat Loaf Meditronica Memex Menno de Jong Mercury Mesmobeat metal Method Man Metroplex Metropolis MF Doom Miami Bass Miami Beach Force Miami Dub Machine Michael Brook Michael Jackson Michael Mantra Michael Mayer Mick Chillage micro-house microfunk Microscopics MIG Miguel Migs Mike Saint-Jules Mike Shiver Miktek Mille Plateaux Millennium Records Mind Distortion System Mind Over MIDI mini-CDs minimal minimal tech-house Ministry Of Sound miscellaneous Misja Helsloot Miss Kittin Miss Moneypenny's Mistical Mixmag Mo Wax Mo-Do MO-DU Moby Model 500 modern classical Modeselektor Moist Music Moodymann Moonshine Morgan Morphology Moss Garden Motech Motorbass Moving Shadow Mujaji Murk Murmur Mushy Records Music link Music Man Records musique concrete Mutant Sound System Mute MUX Muzik Magazine My Best Friend Mystery Tape Laboratory Mystica Tribe Mystified N-Trance Nacht Plank Nadia Ali Nas Nashville Natural Midi Nature Sounds Naughty By Nature Nebula Neil Young Neon Droid Neotropic nerdcore Nervous Records Nettwerk Neurobiotic Records New Age New Beat New Jack Swing new wave Nic Fanciulli Nick Höppner Night Time Stories Nightwind Records Nimanty Nine Inch Nails Ninja Tune Nirvana nizmusic No Mask Effect Nobuo Uematsu noise Nomad Nonesuch Nonplus Records Nookie Nordic Trax Norman Feller North South Northumbria Not Now Music Nothing Records Nova NovaMute NRG Ntone nu-italo nu-jazz nu-skool Nuclear Blast Entertainment Nulll Nunc Stans Nurse With Wound NXP Oasis Octagen Offshoot Offshoot Records Ol' Dirty Bastard Olan Mill Old Europa Cafe old school rave Ole Højer Hansen Olga Musik Olien Oliver Lieb Olsen OM Records Omni Trio Omnimotion Omnisonus One Little Indian Oophoi Oosh Open Canvas Opium Opus III orchestral Original TranceCritic review Origo Sound Orkidea Orla Wren Ornament Ostgut Ton Ott Ottsonic Music Ouragan Out Of The Box OutKast Outpost Records Overdream P-Ben Paleowolf Pan Sonic Pantera Pantha Du Prince Paolo Mojo Parlaphone Patreon Paul Moelands Paul Oakenfold Paul van Dyk Pendulum Perfect Stranger Perfecto Perturbator Pet Shop Boys Petar Dundov Pete Namlook Pete Tong Peter Andersson Peter Benisch Peter Broderick Peter Gabriel Peter Tosh Phonothek Photek Phutureprimitive Phynn PIAS Recordings Pinch Pink Floyd Pitch Black PJ Harvey Plaid Planet Dog Planet Earth Recordings Planet Mu Planetary Assault Systems Planetary Consciousness Plastic City Plastikman Platinum Platipus Pleq Plump DJs Plunderphonic Plus 8 Records PM Dawn Poker Flat Recordings Pole Folder politics Polydor Polytel pop Popular Records Porya Hatami post-dubstep power electronics Prince Prince Paul Prins Thomas Priority Records Profondita prog prog psy prog-psy Progression progressive breaks progressive house progressive rock progressive trance Prolifica Proper Records Prototype Recordings protoU Pryda psy chill psy dub Psy Spy Records psy trance psy-chill psychedelia Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia Psychomanteum Psychonavigation Psychonavigation Records Psycoholic Psykosonik Psysolation Public Enemy punk punk rock Pureuphoria Records Purl Purple Soil Push PWL International Quadrophonia Quality Quango Quantum Quinlan Road R & S Records R'n'B R&B Rabbit In The Moon Radio Slave Radioactive Radioactive Man Radiohead Rae Raekwon ragga Rainbow Vector raison d'etre Ralph Lawson RAM Records Randal Collier-Ford Random Review Rank 1 rant Rapoon RareNoise Records Ras Command Rascalz Raster-Noton Ratatat Raum Records RCA React Red Jerry Refracted reggae remixes Renaissance Renaissance Man Rephlex Reprise Records Resist Music Restless Records RetroSynther Reverse Alignment Rhino Records Rhys Fulber Ricardo Villalobos Richard Durand Riley Reinhold Ringo Sheena Rising High Records RnB Roadrunner Records Robert Hood Robert Miles Robert Oleysyck Roc Raida rock rock opera rockabilly rocktronica Roger Sanchez ROIR Rollo Rough Trade Rub-N-Tug Ruben Garcia Rumour Records Running Back Ruthless Records RZA S.E.T.I. Sabled Sun SadGirl Sakanaction Salt Tank Salted Music Salvation Music Samim Samora sampling Sanctuary Records Sander van Doorn Sandoz SantAAgostino Sarah McLachlan Sash Sasha Saul Stokes Scandinavian Records Scann-Tec sci-fi Scooter Scott Grooves Scott Hardkiss Scott Stubbs Scuba Seán Quinn Seaworthy Segue Sense Sentimony Records Sequential Seraphim Rytm Setrise Seven Davis Jr. Sghor sgnl_fltr Shackleton Shaded Explorations Shaded Explorer Shadow Records Sharam Shawn Francis shoegaze Si Matthews SideOneDummy Records Sidereal Signature Records SiJ Silent Season Silent Universe Silentes Silentes Minimal Editions Silicone Soul silly gimmicks Silver Age Simian Mobile Disco Simon Berry Simon Heath Simon Posford Simon Scott Simple Records Sinden Sine Silex single Single Gun Theory Sire Records Company Six Degrees Sixeleven Records Sixtoo ska Skare Skin To Skin Skua Atlantic Slaapwel Records Slam Sleep Research Facility Slinky Music Sly and Robbie Smalltown Supersound SME Visual Works Inc. SMTG Limited Snap Sneijder Snoop Dogg Snowy Tension Pole soft rock Soiree Records International Solar Fields Solaris Recordings Solarstone Solieb Soliquid Solstice Music Europe Soma Quality Recordings Songbird Sony Music Entertainment soul Soul Temple Entertainment soul:r Souls Of Mischief Sound Of Ceres Soundgarden Sounds From The Ground soundtrack southern rap southern rock space ambient Space Dimension Controller Space Manoeuvres space synth Spacetime Continuum Spaghetti Recordings Spank Rock Special D Specta Ciera speed garage Speedy J SPG Music Spicelab Spielerei Spiritech spoken word Spotify Suggestions Spotted Peccary SPX Digital Squarepusher Squaresoft Stacey Pullen Stanton Warriors Star Trek Stardust Statrax Stay Up Forever Stephanie B Stephen Kroos Steve Angello Steve Brand Steve Lawler Steve Miller Band Steve Porter Steven Rutter Stijn van Cauter Stone Temple Pilots Stonebridge Stormloop Stray Gators Street Fighter Stuart McLean Studio K7 Stylophonic Sub Focus Subharmonic Sublime Sublime Porte Netlabel Subotika Substance Suduaya Sun Station Sunbeam Sunday Best Recordings Supercar Superstition surf rock Sven Väth Swayzak Sweet Trip swing Switch Sylk 130 Symmetry Sync24 Synergy Synkro synth pop synth-pop synthwave System 7 Tactic Records Take Me To The Hospital Tall Paul Tammy Wynette Tangerine Dream Tau Ceti Taylor Tayo tech house tech-house tech-step tech-trance Technical Itch techno technobass Technoboy Tectonic Telefon Tel Aviv Terminal Antwerp Terra Ferma Terry Lee Brown Jr Textere Oris The Angling Loser The Beach Boys The Beatles The Black Dog The Brian Jonestown Massacre The Bug The Chemical Brothers The Circular Ruins The Clash The Council The Cranberries The Crystal Method The Digital Blonde The Dust Brothers The Field The Gentle People The Glimmers The Green Kingdom The Grey Area The Hacker The Herbaliser The Human League The Irresistible Force The KLF The Misted Muppet The Movement The Music Cartel The Null Corporation The Oak Ridge Boys The Offspring The Orb The Police The Prodigy The Sabres Of Paradise The Shamen The Sharp Boys The Sonic Voyagers The Squires The Tea Party The Tragically Hip The Velvet Underground The Wailers The White Stripes The Winterhouse themes Thievery Corporation Third Contact Third World Tholen Thrive Records Tiefschwarz Tiësto Tiga Tiger & Woods Time Life Music Time Warp Timecode Timestalker Tipper Tobias Tocadisco Todd Terje Tom Middleton Tomita Tommy Boy Ton T.B. Tone Depth Tony Anderson Sound Orchestra Too Pure Tool Topaz Tosca Toto Touch Tourette Records Toxik Synther Traffic Entertainment Group trance Trancelucent Tranquillo Records Trans'Pact Transcend Transformers Transient Records trap Trax Records Trend Trentemøller Tresor tribal Tricky Triloka Records trip-hop Trishula Records Tristan Troum Troy Pierce TRS Records Tsuba Records Tsubasa Records Tuff Gong Tunnel Records Turbo Recordings turntablism TUU TVT Records Twisted Records Type O Negative U-God U-Recken U2 U4IC DJs Überzone Ugasanie UK acid house UK Garage UK Hard House Ultimae Ultimae Records Ultra Records Umbra Underworld Union Jack United Dairies United DJs Of America Universal Motown Universal Music Universal Records Universal Republic Records Unknown Tone Records UOVI Upstream Records Urban Icon Records Utada Hikaru V2 Vagrant Records Valiska Valley Of The Sun Vangelis Vap Vector Lovers Venetian Snares Venonza Records Vermont Vernon Versatile Records Verus Records Verve Records VGM Vice Records Victor Calderone Victor Entertainment Vince DiCola Vinyl Cafe Productions Virgin Virtual Vault Virus Recordings Visionquest Visions Vitalic vocal trance Vortex Wagram Music Waki Wanderwelle Warp Records Warren G Water Music Dance Wave Recordings Wave Records Waveform Records Wax Trax Records Way Out West WEA Wednesday Campanella Weekend Players Weekly Mini-Review Werk Discs Werkstatt Recordings WestBam White Swan Records Wichita William Orbit Willie Nelson world beat world music writing reflections Wrong Records Wu-Tang Clan Wyatt Keusch XL Recordings Yamaoko Yello Yes Ylid Youth Youtube YoYo Records Yul Records Zenith ZerO One Zoharum Zomby Zoo Entertainment ZTT Zyron ZYX Music µ-Ziq