Saturday, May 29, 2010

Production School

Since having heard Production Unit's 'It's Personal' on The Highpoint Lowlife 2010 Mixtape I've been waiting eagerly for it's release. It seems like an age has gone by since then but the Ghost Track EP on which it features is now available via the HPLL website and I think will be hitting the main digital retailers within the week. The track and in fact the whole EP itself is not something that's easily pigeonholed although both dubstep and techno influences can clearly be heard throughout. The net result on It's Personal and, to a lesser extent, Axel, sounds like some kind of futuristic spaghetti western soundtrack. The rest of the EP is similarly intriguing and melds together distorted vocals, rave stabs and a variety of other electronic trickery on top of common themes of throbbing bass and crisp percussion. My biggest gripe about the whole thing is that (I think) it's a digital only release as this would surely have been an addictive piece of black crack.

It's Personal can be downloaded via the link below and the full EP can be previewed via Production Unit's Soundcloud page although if you've got any sense, you'll just head on over to HPLL where for the paltry sum of £3 you can bag the full release for your takeaway pleasure.

To help promote the EP, Production Unit has also put together a mix for Clash magazine - I've not checked it out yet but the tracklist is pretty interesting so I'm looking forward to doing so.

Production Unit - "It's Personal" by highpoint lowlife

For those not aware, Production Unit was part of the now defunct Marcia Blaine School For Girls which takes me nicely onto this little video which involves the other two members - Bryan Kerr on visual duties and Ruaridh Law aka TVO on the sonics. As regular readers will know, TVO has featured several times on these pages previously and given his varied musical output, each new offering is both a treat and a surprise. This time, the music is abstract and experimental and one for headphone listening. Taken from the forthcoming album 'Amid The Blaze Of Noon', again out on HPLL but not until late summer. The album will be out on both CD and DVD and while I tend not to spend masses of time watching visuals in a home environment the A/V pairing on this particular project seem to complement each other perfectly.

Dalston. Ala from Bryan Kerr on Vimeo.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Blood Deep

As mentioned on these pages back in January, the debut release on Dark Arx Recordings was one that made me sit up and take note and set a high benchmark for subsequent output on the label to follow. Well, release number 2 is now upon us (has been for a couple of weeks actually) and this time it comes from label head Dark Arx himself and is most definitely a continuation of the initial high quality standards.

Where the first release hinted at a dubstep agenda, Dark Arx's Blood Vein EP places this medal proudly on its chest and in doing so propels the label forward into the dancefloor arena. Both Blood Vein and Streak meld stepper's rhythms with spacious techno sound palettes to deliver laid back yet totally danceable offerings that span the Berlin-Bristol divide. The third track on the EP, Argent and Sable, dispenses with the kick drum and makes a return to the kind of dub-infused electronica served up on the label's first release. The track doesn't so much unfold as kind of float along its four minute duration as the growling bassline bubbles away in the background while delayed effects pan across the speakers and a skittery hi hat keeps time before the track slowly edges back into the shadows.

To accompany the EP, comes another installment in the Dark Arx podcast series. Again, put together by Dark Arx himself, Podcast no.3 showcases the label's twin passions for dubstep and techno. As with all forward thinking DJs and labels, Dark Arx clearly has eyes on both the past and the present in order to help define the future. Podcast #3 takes on board techno classics from the likes of UR & Basic Channel and splices them together with modern day gems from scene heavyweights such as Dettmann and Scuba and emerging talents like Instra:mental and ill-ec-tro-nic faves Stroboscopic Artefacts.

Dark Arx - Podcast #3

All in all, both the EP and the podcast only serve to cement my initial inclination that Dark Arx was going to be an interesting little project to keep an eye. Roll-on release no. 3!

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Artificial Abstractions

Luis Flores isn't a name I've come across previously but on the strength of his Pain and Prosthetics release on Hidden Agenda it's certainly going to be one I keep an eye out for in the future. Delivering three dark and brooding club tracks full of tension and perfect for building up the climax in a set, this is definitely a release for discerning techno heads. The digital version also features a bonus cut in the form of 'Vitamins 4 U' which takes things in a slightly different direction due largely to the vocodered Anthony Rother-style vocals. Not quite as strong as the tracks on the vinyl release but provides a little variety and all in all this is a tasty little package.

Luis Flores - Bajando // Hidden Agenda buy

Keeping with the dark warehouse vibe, we move onto the latest installment of goodness from the Stroboscopic Artefacts camp. Back in March, fresh remixes of Lucy & Ercolino's Gmork & So The Nothing Grows Stronger came out; this time with Luke Slater & Dadub at the controls. Both deliver strong, reverb-heavy slabs of techno perfect for the rave although the Dadub one works it's way up to the pounding techno structure by taking in some dubstep influences prior to the breakdown so for me, provides the most interesting home listening - I suspect the Slater mix would nail it in a club environment though.

The next installment of Stroboscopic's digital only sampler EP is due out this week and once again offers a bit more variety that the typically heads-down fodder of their 12"s. That said, the killer on 'Gamma' is Abstract Souls' Abstract Subway which is a deep and heavy dancefloor workout with another well placed nod towards Basic-Channel. Given that Discogs suggests this is this artist's first release, they're certainly out of the gates on a flyer so lets hope they can maintain this quality on subsequent outings. The rest of the sampler contains some nice cuts too: Modern Head's 1969 is mesmerizing in its simplicity and sure to find dancers shuffling along in contended bliss while Donor strips things down to a sparse and cavernous kickdrum and modulating bassline formula that takes in a variety of sonic effects as it meanders along while Claudio PRC finishes things off with a slab of dark sci-fi ambiance.

One thing that's currently puzzling me about this label is why neither Boomkat nor Phonica are currently stocking it in the UK - come on guys you're really missing a trick here - get on it!

In respecting the label's wishes, we're only going to put snippets from these releases up again. You can also check out previews from Juno / Juno Download & Zero" who clearly have the good sense to have the full SA catalogue online.

Lucy & Ercolino - So The Nothing Grows Stronger (Dadub Remix) (SAMPLE) // Stroboscopic Artefacts

Abstract Souls - Abstract Subway (SAMPLE)
// Stroboscopic Artefacts

Stroboscopic Artefacts also featured heavily on Modyfier last month with no less than 5 installments in their Process Series! I've not had chance to check the mixes out in full yet but if the crew's DJ skills are of the same high standards as the label's productions then I suspect there's some treats in store!

Keeping with the dubby vibe but moving into stepper's territory is a promo mix we were sent a while back for last Friday's FWD night at Matter - I meant to post ahead of the event but kind of got sidetracked! The mix takes its time to work all the way up to full dancefloor strength, starting off with tracks from across a variety of genres with some of the early selections not being the kind of thing you'd typically expect to hear on a mix from one of the big names in Dubstep. However, fans of Appleblim will know what to expect as the showcasing of his eclectic side is something he's done previously, particularly on his excellent Rinse FM mixes from last year.

Appleblim - FWD / Rinse Promo Mix

Rounding things up for today is a tasty little freebie sent to us to promote Mount Kimbie's latest release - a collection of remixes out on Hotflush that comes in 2 parts. Part 1 is out now (actually sold out in a few places) and features the Falty DL version below plus remixes by James Blake & Instra:mental. I've not heard the second remix package yet but it features Tama Sumo & Prosumer and label boss Paul Rose in his SCB guise. Part 2 was originally due out at the end of April but doesn't appear to be in the shops yet so I'm guessing it's slightly delayed but due to drop imminently.

Mount Kimbie - Serged (Falty DL Remix) // Hotflush buy

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