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Mumdance joins the Fabric canon of legendary bespoke mixes, and his contribution will go down in history as one of the best. When the producer returned to the airwaves in 2013 with contributions to Rinse, Tectonic and Keysound, it was abundantly clear that he had honed in on a sound that was truly his. This mix is a microcosm of the sounds that built that rebirth, effortlessly traversing through a slew of conflicting styles and like only the best selectors can do, ensuring it all makes sense. Initially building up an immobilising wall of sheet sound from Shapednoise and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, the oblique ‘Brance Light’ from Fis changes direction into a passage of jagged, fragmented electronics from Sculpture and Sweet Exocist. From here, we’re thrown headlong into a barrage of military-drilled bass pressure from contemporaries such as Pinch, Acre and Helm including unheard cuts from Logos and an exclusive VIP rework of his collaboration with Novelist. Finally we transit into a finale based around the hardcore era that he grew up on, this is a snapshot of Mumdance’s musical foundations and a reiteration of his current standpoint.
Planet Mu celebrate 20 years of releasing game-changing, fiercely independent electronic music with a compilation collecting tracks both classic and new from some of the artists who’ve called the label home over the years. With a whopping 50 tracks spread across three CDs, and a deluxe triple 12" pressing, this is a key release covering Planet Mu , stretching the breadth of everything from old school jungle from Remarc and newly adapted junglist flavours such as Machinedrum, from FWD-facing grime from Mr. Mitch to digi-dub house from Ital and from classic Mu artists including Venetian Snares, Luke Vibert, Jega to Vex'd and Mike Paradinas himself. The new wave of Mu artists breaking through in scenes from Jlin, John T Gast & Ekoplekz while the labels recent exposure of footwork to the world is heavily catered for with DJ Nate, DJ Diamond and Traxman all dropping bangers (and works) It's a real testament to Planet Mu that such a wide ranging compilation that when listened to from start to finish flows with a real consistency and expertly joins the dots between scenes and producers, seemingly worlds apart, can be united on the Planet Mu. Besides covering genres as diverse as footwork, IDM, breakcore, dubstep, and grime, the CD compilation also features an essential 110-page book by electronic music journalist Rory Gibb outlining the label’s history.
A curated selection of classics, rarities and unreleased tracks from the On-U Sound vaults by DJ & Audio Visual artist Trevor Jackson (aka Playgroup / Underdog), renowned for his Metal Dance compilations of industrial-dance on Strut Records, having worked with the likes of LCD Soundsystem and Four Tet via his Output Recordings Label, and a recently released acclaimed multi edition album of his own music (FORMAT) via the vinyl factory. This is the electro-fried avant-garde side of On-U Sound. Whilst still containing the dub DNA that define Adrian Sherwood’s productions, these tracks document a period when this sonic vision was realised through saturated sheets of electronics, reverberating drum machines and extreme chopped-up tape edits. Available on as a 2CD / 27-track set, or a 3LP edition that has 20 tracks on the vinyl plus the additional 7 tracks from the CD as part of the download card. Fully annotated with sleevenotes that tell the story behind each track. Features 3 completely unreleased tracks (inc. a crucial early cut by Neneh Cherry) and 6 tracks that have never been reissued on CD or digital (inc. the amazing debut recording by a pre-Massive Attack Shara Nelson).
Nils Frahm adopts his delicate style of modern classical composition to the latest Late Night Tales compilation. Starting with the solo piano piece 4:33 we are slowly absorbed into his mixture of dimmed-light ambience and after-hours exuberance. Choice cuts from Four Tet, the smoke-heavy drum beat from his 0181 excerpt giving nod to the trip-hop days of Massive Attack and Tricky sitting perfectly next to more avant pieces such as The Baka Forest People Of South-East Cameroon's water-logged piece Liquindi 2. Meanwhile Bleep favourites such as Rhythm & Sounds' Mango Drive slowly rolls through the middle of the mixture next to the ghostly shuffle of Miles Davis's Generique. The tracklist flows seamlessly in the vein of all the great chilled DJ mixes, taking you on a journey of early morning sounds where things start to blur at the edges and subtle psychedelia stretches through the DNA of everything that emerges, from Boards Of Canada's 'In A Beautiful Place..' to Nina Simone's achingly beautiful 'Who Knows Where The Time Goes' all in all this is a superb selection that shows Nils Frahm not only has an ear for producing entrancing atmospheric music, but his skills as a selector of after hours home listening are second to none, here's to hoping he invites us around for dinner soon.
Ghost Box founders Julian House and Jim Jupp celebrate their label’s tenth anniversary (in style – arriving with a slight delay of about a year). This comprehensive compilation documents a decade of some of the time’s conceptually most interesting musical output in the UK. The physical version of the 31-track compilation includes sleeve notes by prolific music writer Simon Reynolds who helped putting the label on the radar in 2006 when he featured them in his The Wire article about hauntology: artists sounding British nostalgia by playing with samples from 1960s and 70s pop culture. It’s in their compiled, accumulated form that the muddled library pieces of Julian House’s project The Focus Group, the synth-accompanied medieval chants of Jim Jupp’s group Belbury Poly or the contemplative synth soundscapes of Martin Jenkins’ Pye Corner Audio alias take full effect: the label couldn’t present its common denominator in a more appropriate way.
Some see it as a high-concept response to the disposable age of information; others see it as a gummy hyper-real universe marking a new dawn of electronica. Whatever their stance, all purveyors of contemporary music culture have an opinion on the PC Music camp. Now the London-based net-label / collective step forward with their first compilation of original material. Whatever your take it can’t be denied that in an age of constant stylistic regurgitation, the giddy PC Music gang are advancing a truly unique musical direction; for instance the angelic vocal-laced pointillism of Hannah Diamond’s ‘Every Night’ or the candy-coated trance of A.G Cook’s ‘Beautiful’, which both eschew every taste convention to the point of actually being pretty catchy. From the frantic vocal pitch shifting on GFOTY’s ‘USA’ to the ultra-cute polyphonic production on Keri Baby by Hannah Diamond and to The Lipgloss Twins, it is a sound like no other. Neatly packed into 30 minutes of sugary action, this is the perfect reintroduction to PC’s glossy realm.
The world of electronic music lost a true great in 2014 in the shape of DJ Rashad, the Chicago-based footwork pioneer who died at the tragically young of 34. Following his passing, Teklife – the globe-spanning crew of footwork producers, DJs, and dancers formed by DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn – teamed up with Hyperdub (who released Rashad’s essential album Double Cup in 2013) for an expansive compilation dedicated to his memory. Where Planet Mu’s seminal Bangs & Works compilations introduced the world to the footwork sound in 2010 and 2011, Next Life looks to footwork’s future, demonstrating just how far the sound has developed since then. The 20-track collection draws together friends and contemporaries from across the globe: though heavily focused on local allies and collaborators like DJ Spinn, Taso, DJ Earl, Boylan, and DJ Taye, it also spans continents to take in Berlin-based, North Carolina-raised artist DJ Paypal and Serbian producers Feloneezy and Jackie Dagger. All proceeds go to a fund for DJ Rashad’s son, Chad.
Acute German selector DJ Koze executes a true DJ clinic in honour of the 50th instalment of the evergreen DJ Kicks mix and compilation series. A lot has changed in the years since they started back in 1995 but DJ Kicks’ quality control rarely lets up. Koze’s mix is an eclectic selection with its grounding in leftfield hip-hop and downtempo, reflecting the artist’s early days as part of alternative hip-hop group Fischmob and his eccentric (and often overlooked) work as Adolf Noise. Opening inclusions from Homeboy Sandman, Freddie Gibbs & Madlib and an interesting BoC remix of cLOUDDEAD cover the artist’s hip-hop affinities, before moving through pieces from MNDSGN, The Two Bears and even William Shatner. Moving into the final third, Koze effortlessly slips into a triptych of plush house refinery from the likes of Frank & Tony, Ostgut Ton’s Marcel Fengler and Portable before the credits finally roll on the lullaby gloss of The Gentle People’s ‘Superstar’. Koze’s idiosyncratic style is writ large across the album, often eschewing conventional mixes for spoken word interludes and starkly contrasting tracks to surprisingly good effect. As well as being a fun and harmonious listen, you’re bound to find a few new tracks and artists (as is always the way with DJ Kicks comps). If you’re new to the series it’s worth delving into the back catalogue, which is a veritable who’s who of leftfield music.
Barely a year on from the release of Hardcore Traxx, Dance Mania Records have dropped a second pounding label retrospective. Featuring another 15 cuts of grimy, high-octane gutter-house from heavyweight contributors such as DJ Deeon, Jammin’ Gerald and Traxmen, this is a no-holds-barred exploration of a niche scene which bridged hip-hop, house, funk and electro, and which ultimately paved the way for the inimitable footwork sound so prevalent over the last five years. Once again, UK imprint Strut do the digging so we don’t have to, wading knee deep through the sprawl of cuts that underpin this vital movement and unearthing a number of rough diamonds for our listening pleasure. Despite being worth your money for the Deeon bangers alone, prime cuts such as Mathematics legend Steve Poindexture’s ‘Computer Madness’, Parris Mitchell’s Liaisons Dangereuses-sampling classic ‘Ghetto Booty’ and the skipping ghetto grot of ‘Let Me See You Butterfly’ all ensure this compilation will never be far from your bag. From the frenetic bump of opener ‘Pump That Shit’ right through to the rubbery disco-rap of ‘Bitches’, this is a soundtrack that pulls no punches: the grooves are dirty, the vocals are hypnotic and the pace is relentless.