Leif – Taraxacum (Until My Heart Stops)
So I’m very late to the party with this one as apparently it’s nearly sold out but I’ve only just got a copy and I wanted to wait until I could fully ingest this before I added my 10 pence worth. That and I’ve been outrageously lax on writing this column. This is Leif’s second full length, and it’s a more than worthy follow up to his debut, Dinas Olau which was excellent and almost 99% certain that no one outside Wales would be able to pronounce it properly.
So what’s it like then? Taraxacum (the Latin name for a dandelion, in a little nod to the labels emblem) is, without doubt, the best thing he’s done so far and I've been following his music for a while now. It’s self assured, versatile, warm, expansive, but still feels a little bit reserved. All of the elements that I would consider his “signature sound” are here; dreamy reverbs, intricate percussion, acute attention to detail, but it still feels like a progression and like he’s covering new territory. There’s a nice balance between the warm and coherent tracks like “Taraxacum 1” and more broken and disjointed excursions like “Air, Light, Time and Space”. This is a fucking cracker from start to finish and I strongly suggest you bag a copy before they all go. If not then go grab the digital when that drops. Yes, they’re breaking the habit of a lifetime.
Maxine & Cleo – Mad Blanc (Argot)
It feels like stating the obvious but Chicago always been nothing but fertile for interesting and body-centric house music, even when the rest of the dance music universe seems to be looking in the opposite direction. Having said that, it seems in the past couple of years Chi town has gone into overdrive. One of the key labels in this current run of form is Argot and its sister label Tasteful Nudes, run by the unstoppable Steve Mizek. They’ve just dropped an excellent 12”, this time reaching out to Philadelphia to bring Maxine & Cleo into the fold.
The results are, to reiterate/regurgitate; interesting and body-centric. We kick off with “Flynn Rhythm” which is a no-nonsense rhythm work out of the highest order. From here we move onto the title track, which has a lovely, lazy groove to it. The slightly fuzzy chords that underpin the proceedings are lifted nicely by the rolling rhythm section. Over on the flip we have “Mind is Spinning” which has a dreamier outlook and finally “Proto” feels lazy and hazy once again. There’s a nice breadth to this EP and I highly recommend you grab a copy.
Gari Romalis - The Specialist (Flumo)
Flumo have just dropped their latest wax, this time coming from the Detroit veteran Gari Romalis, and it’s well worth a look. We have 4 tracks of warm house and techno in full Technicolor. Not content just to stick to the same old way of presenting their music, this package comes as a white vinyl with lovely artwork.
Iori – Monsoon/Rainfall (Phonica White)
Iori is back with the Phonica crew with this rather excellent 2 tracker. I first picked up on the Japanese artist via his previous excursion on Phonica White and, while up to the same high standard, this has a much lighter feel. Still, it drips the same hypnotic quality. Def worth a look.