Thursday, 29 April 2010

Martin Buttrich - Crash Test (Desolat)

Germany’s Martin Buttrich has been a house and techno player for years and now finally drops his debut solo LP on Desolat. It is a fluid electronic affair, where enigmatic instrumentation rubs shoulders with swirling synthetics. Buttrich’s sound might be primarily associated with clubs and dancing, but this organic collection is just as good for home listening. Winners include the driving Back It Up, confusing Enough Love To Hate It and the ethereal You Must Be This High. Buttrich’s Crash Test is a success.

V/A - Kitsuné Maison 9 (Kitsuné)

Once more we return to the maison for fun and games with the Paris based Kitsuné crew. As usual, there’s a mix of new names and older hands supplying synth pop heaven, starry eyed dance grooves and other treats. Maybe not quite as essential as previous instalments, this compilation still features its fair share of winners. High points include Washed Out’s cute Belong, Lifelike’s fuzzy take on Jupiter’s Vox Populi and Feldberg‘s gorgeous Dreamin’. It is difficult to resist another night at the maison.

Clara Moto - Polyamour (InFiné)

Clara Moto aka Clara Prettenhoffer makes intriguing clean cutting electronic compositions that blur the lines between minimal and maximal. This album, released via Agoria’s InFiné imprint, blends groovy instrumental efforts with incredibly tasty vocal moments. Highs include the bleepy Emory Bortz, the haunting MIMU assisted Deer And Fox, and messy Glove Affair. Polyamour is a deeply satisfying electronic album.

V/A - Moshi Moshi Singles Club Vol 2 (Moshi Moshi)

Moshi Moshi is the greeting used by people on the phone in Japan and the artists on this compilation didn’t wait to be introduced. Instead, they thrusted their brands of synth pop, jangle indie and other ‘now’ musical styles into our faces with these singles. Many of them have now gone onto bigger and better things, but this was their ‘hello’. I don’t wish to get any further acquainted with some of the acts here, but I could chat for hours with a select few. These are Kindness, who supply the calming Swinging Party, The Drums with their wonderfully retro Let’s Go Surfing and Mirrors’, responsible for the sweet Into The Heart. The only problem with today‘s breakneck paced popular culture is that you may struggle to remember who these acts are when you hear their voices next time, as another group of hopefuls will already be to be introduced.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Secrets - Volume 1 (Secrets)

Shh! I should not even be reviewing this mysterious record from the Secrets crew, but it deserves coverage. The Secrets imprint is loosely related to a certain NYC based label and Secrets is a chance for the outfit to share a few of their special dancefloor moments with the record buying public. The A Side cut is an acidic post disco monster with mind melting guitars and Chicago beats. The B Side opts for exotic flutes, African vocals and a freaky bassline. Why are they doing this? Because it’s good to share!

Si*Sé - Gold (Si*Sé)

Brooklyn based Latin hop outfit Si*Sé announce their return with this self released EP. Lead cut This Love is a beautiful opener featuring Carol C’s tingling vocals and The Crystal Pharoah’s sturdy production work. Other high points include the searching Dónde Está? and a dynamic pseudo reggae cover of The Chain.

Joker - Tron (Kapsize)

This is a monstrous record that shows there’s no smoke without at least a small fire. Tron takes its strength from glorious synths, heaving beats and a screwed up bassline.

Planas - Look Into My Eyes (Immerse)

Bristol’s Toby Davies makes dubstep that swirls with a magical musicality yet also hits hard. Look Into My Eyes sees dreamy keys come up against a huge bassline. Roots Music pits no nonsense pianos against snappy beats and a slight yet subby bassline.

Andreya Triana - Lost Where I Belong (Ninja Tune)

Moving out of the shadows to stand on her own two feet, Andreya Triana is finally being acknowledged as a true artist and not merely a featured vocalist. She captures the true desolation of feeling Lost Where I Belong, backed by neat jazz hop production work. There’s also a touching acoustic version and a beautifully messy remix from Flying Lotus.

Itokim - The Journey Unknown (Timid)

Itokim has been on form of late and his run of excellent releases continues with The Journey Unknown. Zero is a haunting effort with mysterious bass work and ghostly keys. One lifts the spirits courtesy of swelling synthetics and careful percussion.

Laidback Luke & Gregor Salto - Step By Step (Nervous)

Dutch don Laidback Luke and Mr. Salto know how to create joyous pop dance records. Catchy vocals, springing synths and emphatic percussion make Step By Step a record the for the clubs and the charts.

Stimming, Ben Watt & Julia Biel - Bright Star (Buzzin Fly)

Buzzin’ Fly celebrate reaching the big 50 with a stunning techy vocal outing conceived by Stimming, Julia Biel and BF boss Ben Watt. The Sunrise Mix is a thumping dancefloor opus, featuring twisted vocals, writhing synths and pointed beats. The Sunset Mix is an almost beatless version, where the vocals and synths are allowed to breathe.

Laszlo - Mr Sunshine (Lydian Label)

London based Laszlo spends most of his time composing for TV, here taking time out to drop a ray of musical sunshine. Mr. Sunshine is all swinging keys, poised percussion and quick-fingered guitar work.

Jammer - Better Than (Big Dada)

An MC’s job is all about confidence and Jammer boasts his way through Better Than. His positivity reigns over telephone ringtones, smart strings and fat beats on the original. The Lorn Remix is a bottom heavy version with a slurping bassline and stepping percussion.