Koova – Empty Spaces (Brokntoys)
Brokntoys is a small label out of London run by Chris Hall and Anwar Dawwas and if it’s sketchy as fuck, just-dropped-acid-and-now-have-to-have-Sunday-lunch-with-grandad kind of electro that you’re after then these are the guys for you. This is their 5th release and it comes courtsey of the also big smoke based Koova and it’s great.
We kick off with 'Code' which is big, bright and rolling. While accomplished and plenty will dig it, for me it’s not necessarily something that I would play. When we move onto Words of Wisdom, however, we’re in different territory all together. Slower and more sinister, this has a lovely hypnotic edge to it. Next up 'Deactivation' ups the tempo again and is wonderfully jagged and paranoid. On from here we have 'Losing It' which brings things back down to the slower, more paranoid feel of 'Words of Wisdom'. Finally 'Links' is a nice little 808 roller with incessant but pleasing modular (I’m guessing) squiggles pinging off over the top. This is really quite an accomplished release and you’d be well advised to keep ears peeled for both Brokntoys and Koova in the future.
Caiazzo – The Dredge (Work Them Records)
If you read this column regularly (which I very much doubt because I usually just paste a load of that “ipsum lorem” etc. etc. made up text in and no one's noticed yet) then you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Spencer Parker’s Work Them label. They excel at putting out track after track of on-the-money, functional house and techno music but each release has an edge of authenticity to it and, as a collection, the sum is most definitely greater than the parts. This latest from Caiazzo is a pure, no messing, stomp fest. Looping, raw and energetic. A fine contribution to this excellent label.
Lo Shea – Bide EP (Never Learnt)
Lo Shea seems to be going from strength to strength at the mo. He’s one of the gents behind the Sheffield institution Hope Works, he’s played at the hallowed P-Bar and now he’s set to drop a lovely 12” on the excellent Never Learnt. The lad must be knackered! Never Learnt has been doing the do for a few years now, quietly putting out a string of quality underground house and techno records from the likes of October, Borai, Christopher Rau and Nyra.
This latest release from Lo Shea sees him in a much housier mood than usual with 4 tracks of really high quality groovers. We kick off with 'Apples' which is an absorbing and emotive builder. Next up 'Schoolin' is a lovely roller with a groove that keeps on coming and some nice lazy chords over the top. Over on the flip 'From the Hills' is a deeper, more pensive affair and, finally, 'Take 2' is warm, bright and open in equal measures. Great EP. Pats on the back all round.
Out soon now on wax. Preorder here
Herva – Dreamers of Unknown tales (Don’t be Afraid)
These guys are super busy at the moment. They’ve just dropped a lovely ambient tape and download from Eecee (check it on their Bandcamp page here) and there’s a VA coming up soon but before that they’re primed to drop a 12” from Herva and it’s frikkin awesome! It’s hectic, intense and broken but it’s exquisitely produced and well worth checking out. I've said this before but there's a lot of skuzzy, fuzzy distorted music about at the moment and a lot of it falls short of the mark. The production on this shows the rest what they should be doing.