Karen Gwyer – Prophase, Metaphase, Anaphase, Telphase (Don't Be Afraid)
Hailing from Ann Arbor Michigan but now based in the UK, Karen Gwyer has a track record of putting out quality techno that pushes just that little bit off piste to give her a very distinctive signature sound. Intense and frenetic at times, spacious and eerie at others, she always injects a nice dose of individuality into what she does. She's just set to drop her debut full EP on the excellent Don't Be Afraid imprint after a track on a VA a little while ago. DBA are currently on a roll that just doesn't seem to be coming to an end.
The EP opens with the title track which is lovely and full, with pretty much every part of the spectrum being taken up but at no point feeling busy or overbearing. There's a lovely arpeggio that sits very low in the mix that really leads the track without you even noticing it. Over this we have pulsing pads that are offset by percussion that somehow seems to feel both soft and intense at the same time. Over on the flip we have “And Again Those Eyes” which is a meandering, beat-less synth sketch that is one to lose yourself in. Finally “Meiosis Gametes” is a slow, chugging monster that pairs tough drums with wistful, bright pads to devastating effect. I love the headspace created by the juxtaposition of rough, distorted sounds with a more lush and inviting pallet and Karen does it hear beautifully. That said, I promise never to use the word juxtaposition in a review ever again. This is a great record.
DeViere – Vendredi (Until My Heart Stops)
Sometimes there comes a point when a much loved label betrays themselves and their followers, with an act of contemptuous treachery that shows their utter disdain for their fanbase. Yes, this has happened to Until My Heart Stops. Us loyal followers have grown to love and cherish their black on black vinyl, with the ghostly silver stamp. But they reach their 10th release and all of a sudden it's white sleeves, white labels and blue ink all over the shop. I mean really! Talk about a stab through the heart. No wonder this country voted to leave the EU.
Joking aside, the excellent UMHS bring up their 10th release with an absolute peach by Boston based DeViere. This is the first I've heard of this guy but it's made me look back through his back catalogue and I reckon my discogs account is going to get a thumping over the next few weeks. This EP though takes in some lovely and diverse territory. Taking up the whole A Side is “Vendredi” which is a show paced but high impact chugger, with a lovely sense of brooding energy. Over on the flip “Azan” has a much lighter feel, with upwardly mobile piano arpeggios and understated percussion. Finally, we have the lovely ambience of “Cello Panetta” that is all about the distant strings and spring reverbs. Also the new colour scheme is nice, no matter what you might read in the gutter-press.
FYI Chris – Lionoil EP (Lionoil Industries)
I've been a fan of the FYI Chris boys since their excellent EP on Rhythm Section a while back and they've kept cracking on with their very individual brand of wonky house music ever since. They've just teamed up with the Edinburgh label Lionoil for an accomplished EP of club ready tracks that you should definitely check out. The thing I love about these guys is that they manage to give their tracks a healthy dose of weird atmosphere and broken rhythms but they don't veer off into the realms of interesting-yet-not-playable. They know how to move a dancefloor but they do it their own way. Just take the weird pitched down high hat in “For Now” as an example. The four tracks on offer here all have an infectious groove and will definitely be working their way into my sets. Well they would if anyone would book me, but that's not exactly very likely now is it?
Paul Johnson – Get Down (Moody)
Having trouble remembering the lyrics to Get Down by Paul Johnson? Fear not! Europe's here to help.
You're welcome xox