The round Up
One of the benefits of tape labels is their ability to be more prolific than most. The increase in tape labels in the past five, six years or so has seen the most successful of those graduate to the black stuff with varying degrees of success (vinyl is after all a tough mistress as buyers, sellers and manufacturers alike well know).
Vancouver’s 1080p crew started out on the spools and are no doubt a productive bunch, but it seems like they’ve failed to shake off their habit even now their attention seems predominantly fixed on wax these days.I’d already earmarked the label for a mention this month thanks to their Luis, Image Man and Minimal Violence releases, and then they swooped in at the last minute to announce some hot new tackle from the impossible to resist Jayda G.
If you’ve seen Jayda working the decks (I had the good fortune at one of my favourite parties of the year, People Like Us in a salubrious sex sauna in Bristol), she’s unafraid of making obvious reaches in her selections but her pure-hearted vibe pulls it off. On the production tip, her Freakout Cult outing with Fettburger was cool, but she sounds on even stronger form here. The boogie influences are there, mixed in with a classic tuff house execution. These are true infectious party jams.
As for the Luis record – well if you’ve been digging any of the DJ Python or DJ Wey records on Lovers Rock and Proibito, this is yet another alias from the Noo Yoik dwelling dude, this time with a jungle bent but also smoked out with that laconic West Coast Canadian vibe that 1080p and others are the standard bearers for.
While they might not be quite as relentless in their release schedule as 1080p, Bristol’s No Corner crew continue a sterling run of it with the very excellent news that fresh tapes from Lily and October are due. Lily is one of those secret aliases for an artist that surely everyone knows by now?
Well, I won’t be the one to out them, but I will instead point you to the Modern Malaise tape that said producer last dropped on No Corner a few years back. This new album follows the same dreamy collage format, mixing in chunky, fizzing and popping machine rhythms and scuffed synth lines. I could probably use the same adjectives on October’s own six-piece effort, but they are in fact very different beasts. The comparisons I shall leave up to you.
There’s been a few nice surprises in terms of multi-step type club wreckers. ‘Multi-step’ is actually a sorely under-used term that hails from the under_score collective, but seems fitting in these stylistically ambiguous times. First up, rRoxymore has bludgeoned her way on to my radar with a single for Don’t Be Afraid that tickles all my party senses. “Organ Smith” is an insanely catchy belter, but it’s “About Finding The Right Blanace” that hits the multi-step button with its peppy pace, clanking found sound percussion, sharply honed Detroit synth licks and all-round futuristic attitude.
Metaboman is perhaps more readily associated with the European minimal house phenomenon (he’s closely aligned with the likes of Robag Wruhme for example) but in fact his sound has increasingly veered towards an off-kilter, stepped UK palette (and likewise his DJing, witnessed some six years ago in his hometown Jena). On a new single for his Musik Krause label, ol’ Wendellin Weisbach throws down distinctive jams that seem to channel jazz and garage more naturally than most with their ragged swings and skronky chord lines. He’s also a king of weirdo vocal slices, with “it is completely unclear how the experiment will end” being one of my favourites in a club track for some time.
The UK is bleeding in everywhere at the moment, what with ‘ardcore stylings even popping up in the latest, fantastic single from Belgian duo Different Fountains – atleast on the “Amen Edit” of “Corpse”. Meanwhile they called on Seekers International to turn in an utterly bonkers dub of the track which got me rather intrigued about said crew. I still don’t know where they hail from, but they’ve been spotted on Digitalis, Bokeh Versions and No Corner in the past. It’s worth looking out for their RaggaPreservationSociety tape – a love letter of sorts to the cult of ragga jungle that once again displays a madcap, sample heavy style.
Another place Seekers have popped up in the past is Boomarm Nation, the excellent label run by Gulls out of Portland and also know for releases by El Mahdy Jr and the like. Gulls came back into my life this past week thanks to a new venture from Paul ‘Strategy’ Dickow. Common Language is a new spin-off from the long-standing Community Library imprint. It’s a fine example of the awesome sounds hovering around the North West corner of the US, and apparently represents an effort to coax less dancefloor-minded acts into turning out some club tracks. On the Rhythm Sounds From Planet Illness EP Gulls does a bang up job of just that.
On a trippier but no less delay and reverb soaked affair is 7FO, who has just appeared on Rvng Intl’s Commend sublabel following the wonderful sounds of Ramzi (one of my favourites from the Vancouver corner). Opening track “Botanical Dub” says it all – this is twittering, quivering organic matter shot through with an authentic Jamaican lilt.
Just a little further out to sea is Kane Ikin, who follows up stunning outings on Type and Latency to deliver an EP for Echovolt that shows a more direct, rhythmically accented side to his work alongside his particular kind of ambience. Whatever the case, there’s still a strong earthly grounding to the sound palette Ikin reaches for, whereas Renick Bell couldn’t be more ‘computer’ if he tried. The latest in a line of unfamiliar names doing unfamiliar things with sound on Lee Gamble’s UIQ label, Bell is a Tokyo-based artist who apparently employs live coding to execute his alluring digital constructs. It’s a refreshingly mysterious art in a time when less and less electronic music seems arcane like it used to.