ASOK – A Mind Forever Voyaging (Creme Organisation)
Stu Robinson AKA ASOK is pretty fucking great in my book. Over the past couple of years he's put together quite an impressive discography, with some awesome records dropping on the likes of M>O>S and Mistress to name but two. The terms “raw” and “analogue” have been bandied around a lot recently, and have almost become a byword for bad production and bandwagon jumping. While you could definitely describe ASOK's sound as both raw and analogue, he brings such a warmth to the table, and his productions always sound so full and lush that he blows most of the competition out of the water. But yeah I get it, it's not how it's made that's interesting; it's how it feels. Across all his releases he pairs everything back, filling his tracks with energy and emotion with only the simplest of brush strokes. Oh and he makes you want to shake your arse too.
He's just dropped a full LP for the dutch monarchs of wonk – Creme Organisation (no I can't be arsed to find the accent on my keyboard) and it feels like quite a milestone for him. The album sees him on top form. Warm throughout, expansive in parts, direct and to the point in others. He serves up quality, no messing club tracks like the weighty “Guardian Dragon” while taking things west with the likes of “Journey Through Fractal Mountain”. This is great release from an artist who, I feel, is only just warming up.
Red Rack'Em – Bill George EP (Nettles)
Jesus H Curuthers! Dan “Red Rack'Em” Berman is a busy boy at the moment. It's knackering me out just watching all the releases come out. He must be shattered. Hot on the heels of one of the biggest records of the year (that's actually good) with his “Wonky Basline Disco Banger” plus a release on his Smugglers Inn offshoot he's now set to launch a new sublabel named Nettles. Focusing on releasing old forgotten gems off the hard drives of him and his friends there should be some gold to come. Some of these tracks have been knocking around unreleased since 2003!
We kick off here with the title track which pretty frikkin epic. We've got a funky arse loop that makes up the back bone of the proceedings but this gets jammed out and mangled over the course of 8 minutes, with lush chords and tripped out delays. Over on the flip we have “Trimm” which is a low key, low slung jam that just bubbles along nicely with some lovely guitar licks over the top. Apparently this track is actually a sample from 10 second loop of incidental music from some weird German kids TV program. Weird. Finally we wrap things up with the raw funk of “Transfer List”. Cracking stuff - I definitely want some of what Mr Rack'Em is smoking at the moment.
Various Artists – Shtum 10 (Shtum)
To call Shtum a sibling label to Dresden’s Uncanny Valley seems to not quite sum them up. Say – crazed brother, manic sister, unkempt and slightly scary cousin, worrying step sibling. At times friendly, at times fucking abrasive, Shtum’s output brings raw, energetic techno to the fore – going places that Uncanny Valley might not tread. They’re celebrating their 10th release with their first foray into the VA – bringing together 3 previous collaborators and some fresh blood.
We kick off with Chino’s “Motor City Racers” which blends bright chords and a tough bassline and is a real mover. Next up, Leibniz takes things a little crazier with “Real Life” which feels frantic but purposeful. Juares’ “Buz Falatsher” is a scattered and paranoid outing, with mad vocals and tough drums. Finally "Perm" brings up the rear with the imaginatively titled “Untitled” which is, for me, the pick of the bunch. Relentless, pent up techno for sweaty basements. This is a cracker of a release from a label you should get to know post haste.
J M S Khosah & Brassfoot – NCA002 (NCA)
J M S Khosa and Brassfoot are back with the second installment of their tape series and it’s every bit as manic and deranged as the first offering. You may know Brassfoot from the hot records he’s been dropping thick and fast on the likes of Apron Records, Unknown to the Unknown and Bio Rhythm and his collaboration with his Japan based friend J M Khosah is proving to be very fertile indeed. Swinging from jagged electro to mind crushing techno soundscapes to field recordings this is quality from start to finish.
Matthew Oh – Psycho Hub EP (Taped Artifact)
Taped Artifact are just about set to drop their 4th release, bringing Matthew Oh into the fold. Sitting firmly at the deeper end of the house/techno spectrum this current release sits perfectly with the rest of their catalogue. The stand out here for me is the lazy lushness of “Get in the Fridge”, reminiscing about shouting at milk.